Diplomat: I can no longer represent Israel

Veteran Israeli diplomat Ilan Baruch quits because “Israel’s foreign policy is wrong,” pointing to the Palestinian issue. Should this trend continue, he warned, Israel will turn into a pariah state and face growing de-legitimization.

Baruch told Israel TV that Israel’s standing was in danger because of its policies, which he said were “difficult to explain.”

“I can no longer honestly represent this government,” he said earlier. “As (Foreign Minister) Lieberman was elected by a large public in a legitimate manner, I cannot question him – but I don’t have to serve him, and therefore I’m quitting.”

“I have nothing against Lieberman the person,” Baruch added. However, he said he had a problem with the diplomatic messages conveyed by the Jewish state at this time and its dismissal of former understandings pertaining to the Road Map and the Palestinians.

Baruch sent a personal letter to all Foreign Ministry employees to explain the motives for his decision.

“Identifying the objection expressed by global public opinion to the occupation policy as anti-Semitic is simplistic, provincial and artificial,” he wrote. “Experience shows that this global trend won’t change until we normalize our relations with the Palestinians.”

A more than 30-year veteran, Baruch resigned a few years before the usual retirement age. His last overseas posting was ambassador to South Africa last year. He quit several months ago. The longtime diplomat lost an eye during the War of Attrition and joined the Foreign Service in 1974.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said it was unusual for a diplomat to criticize the government upon retirement. Officials at Lieberman’s office declined to respond to Baruch’s comments.

Ynet

March 2, 2011

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