JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman disagrees with U.S. President Barack Obama's assessment that the Arab peace plan is a "very constructive start."
"We have gone out of our way to compliment the efforts of those Arab states that were involved in formulating the Arab peace initiative as a very constructive start," Obama said after a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah.
The Arab peace initiative, first presented in 2002 by Saudi Arabia, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in all territory that came under Israeli sovereignty in the 1967 Six Day War and the return of so-called Palestinian refugees, who left during the 1948 War of Independence, in exchange for "normalized" relations with surrounding Arab countries.
"This is a dangerous plan, a recipe for Israel's destruction," Lieberman told Foreign Ministry officials Tuesday night, according to Army Radio.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, on the other hand, expressed his support for a "regional solution" to the situation.
"An Israeli plan for a regional solution is a central axis of Israel's policy in the coming years and a key to ensuring Israel's future in the region," Barak said.
"Israel must cooperate with the U.S. in formulating the details of the solution, which will also ensure Israel's security interests...and Israel's Jewish character, without allowing a right of return," he said.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman arrives in Israel Wednesday, his first visit since the installation of the new government.
Suleiman will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and possibly with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Lieberman ruffled the feathers of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit last month when he criticized President Hosni Mubarak for not visiting Israel in an official capacity in the past three decades.
In his comments, Lieberman used the Hebrew equivalent of saying Mubarak could "get lost," which the media translated as "go to hell."
Aboul-Gheit said he would not meet with Lieberman until he issued an official apology for his remarks.
Topping today's agenda with Suleiman are negotiations with Hamas for the release of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said the meetings are intended to ease the tension between Egypt and Israel.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news