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Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Lieberman says will oppose settlement freeze
Ahead of Obama visit, Yisrael Beiteinu chair says Israel-Palestinian conflict can't be solved, stresses party will oppose any type of construction freeze in West Bank

Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman said he does not believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved and rejected any possible freeze in settlement construction.

 

"After seeing no result following the 10-month freeze I said I would oppose any freeze inside or outside the (major settlement) blocs," Lieberman said. "We are willing to make gestures but they cannot be one-sided. Yisrael Beiteinu will fiercely oppose any attempt to resume the freeze."

 

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Lieberman acknowledged that this stance will inevitably create frictions within the coalition. "I never said I see eye to eye with (Tzipi) Livni on the political level," he remarked.


"על הממשלה להתמקד קוד כול בנושאי פנים" (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

Lieberman wants focus on internal matters (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

The former foreign minister said that the new government must focus on internal affairs. "This government's job is to focus on internal problems first. There is no point in going back to the same pattern."

 

He noted he does not see a solution to the conflict. "We should all look back four years and see where we stood on the Palestinian issue. I see no change, no progress and that is why I think this issue should not be in the way. My estimate is that nothing will happen."

 

He further added, "Those who talk about solving the Palestinian problem must be deluding themselves. This conflict cannot be solved, it should be managed. And relations with the Palestinians must be strengthened. We are not an island."


"נדרוש תשובות ברורות בנושא האיראני", ליברמן (צילום: עמוס בן גרשום, לע"מ)

Netanyahu and Obama. Expecting clear answers on Iran (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)

 

Lieberman also addressed US President Barack Obama's visit to Israel, labeling it an Israeli achievement. "A US president who arrives in Jerusalem on his second term is in itself a huge success," he said.

 

"For us the Iranian issue is the main topic we will seek to discuss. We saw that the last meeting did not yield any results. Clearly Iran has no intention of slowing down its production of the nuclear bomb and we want clear answers. I hope we reach total agreement in terms of the situation assessment."


"אין כוונה כרגע לפרק את הסיעה המשותפת" (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

'Biggest challenge is the budget' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


ליברמן: "אני שמח שישראל ביתנו הקדימה את כולם" (צילום גיל יוחנן)

'We were there first' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

The Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, who is currently on trial for fraud charges, also discussed the new coalition. He claimed that his party was the first to raise the flag on equal share of the burden and governance which were key issues in the platforms of both Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi . "I am glad that Yisrael Beiteinu was there first."

 

He also claimed that the primary system has a corrupting effect on the political system.

 

Addressing the challenges facing Israel's 33rd government he said, "The first big challenge is the budget. There is an unprecedented situation where we have an agreement and a similar outlook in matters relating to equal share of the burden and governance. "

 

He rejected reports suggesting he plans on disbanding the joint Likud -Beiteinu faction. "It’s not on the agenda. Is it possible? Yes, but it's not on the agenda."

 

 

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