'Israel represents West'
Photo: Dana Koppel
Lieberman: Territorial concession concept failed
Yisrael Beitenu head releases document aimed at countering potential withdrawal initiatives ahead of regional peace conference in November. Lieberman claims past experience proves territorial concessions lead to terror, escalation
"The land for peace principle is wrong and misleading," Avigdor Lieberman, the minister for strategic affairs, wrote in a policy document published Thursday against the background of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over a declaration of principles leading to a Palestinian state.


The document, entitled "Yisrael Beiteinu's Vision", was compiled in light of Lieberman's concern that the US-sponsored international peace conference planned for November may lead to significant Israeli withdrawals in the West Bank. "The presupposition that the root of the Israeli-Arab dispute is territorial, and that therefore territorial concessions would lead to peace… does not agree with past experience."


The Yisrael Beiteinu leader stressed that the pullouts from Lebanon and Gaza both served to prove that "territorial concessions... lead directly to escalation and an increase in terror."


According to Lieberman, "The State of Israel must explain that the anti-Israel views advocated by the extremist Islamic leaders, and that are widespread among many western circles, are a direct continuation of classic anti-Semitism.


"Israel needs to explain that the demand for an independent Palestinian state and the refugees' right of return is a cover for radical Islam's attempt to destroy the State of Israel," he stated in the document.


The minister further claimed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "is just one aspect of the struggle of the fundamentalist world against any way of life that goes against the spirit of Islam. Israel, as the representative of the western world, stands at the forefront of this confrontation."


Referring to the situation in Gaza, Lieberman called for the deployment of NATO and EU forces in the Strip. "NATO forces will work to enforce public order and maintain the security stability in the region. The European Union will carry the responsibility of establishing and developing alternative infrastructure and jobs for the residents of the Strip.


"The bottom line is: Gaza's final model must be based on the Hong Kong model (financial prosperity in a small territory), and without any affinity to the West Bank," he concluded.


Likud faction chairman MK Gideon Saar criticized Lieberman for staying in the government although his political views contradicted those of the cabinet.


Saar called on Lieberman to resign from the government, and work to topple it, push forward the elections and establish a new national government.


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