Bibi and Lieberman at odds over new UN Ambassador; Dore Gold favored to replace “lame duck” Shalev
One would think that a government, which repeats ad nauseum that effective diplomacy will lead to international acceptance of its hard-line agenda, would be able to get this right. That assumption, however, should probably have been discarded after the appointment of a Putinist as Foreign Minister, an experimental diplomat as his deputy and a movement neoconservative as ambassador to a Democratic administration in the Washington.
The prime minister and the foreign minister cannot agree on a candidate
Shlomo Cezana, Israel Hayom, April 15 2010 [page 27 | Hebrew original here]
Foreign Ministry officials expressed sharp criticism over the fact that Israel’s next UN ambassador has not been named yet. The current ambassador, Prof Gabriella Shalev, is expected to complete her 2-year tour in the end of August.Since this is Israel’s most senior diplomatic position, it has been traditionally established that the candidate is chosen after the prime minister consults the foreign minister.
Last September, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that he had decided to replace Prof Shalev with Alon Pinkas, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled that Pinkas was not the right man for the job and cancelled the appointment. Lieberman and Netanyahu have since discussed the issue on several occasions, but failed to reach an agreement.
Last night, Senior Foreign Ministry officials leveled criticism at this unclear state of affairs, and even compared the foreign minister’s notice with the announcement of Defense Minister Ehud Barak that he does not intend to extend the term of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. “The (Lieberman) announcement harmed the acting ambassador twice. It impaired on her performance and turned her into a lame duck, and hurt her personally when they did not consult her,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.
Responding to his statement, Prof. Shalev notified Minister Lieberman that she will not wait until she is replaced by a new ambassador and will be returning to Israel to reengage in her academic career as a professor of law. Another senior Foreign Ministry staffer said that Netanyahu, who served as Israel’s UN ambassador in the past, “should have properly appreciated the importance of the organization and the preparation a new ambassador there requires.”Political sources said last night that though no decision has been made yet, Dore Gold is the leading candidate for the post, having served there before. Another name mentioned in the Foreign Ministry is Danny Gillerman’s. The Foreign Ministry and the prime minister’s bureau provided a similar answer last night, saying: “There is no news on the matter. We will update you when we have news.”
In addition, no decision has been made yet on the replacement of Israel’s consul general in New York, who is ending his term in June. According to a Foreign Ministry official, “the only candidate for the post is Shay Bazak, formerly Netanyahu’s spokesman who has been appointed as consul in Miami.”