Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: AP

FM: Settlements not hindering peace

Lieberman says Jewish communities in West Bank cannot be blamed for difficulties in Israeli-Palestinian peace process; adds Washington, Jerusalem share strategic goals

Israel and the United States see eye to eye on strategic goals, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday.


According to Lieberman, the shared goals include "ensuring Iran will not have unconventional weapons and fingering it as a destabilizing element in the Middle East, as well as the one involved in subversive acts in Egypt, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. This (definition) is a common desire.


"It is also clear that Israel must maintain an advantage, and that the final goal is security and a situation of financial stability with the Palestinians."


The foreign minister lauded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the "dignified way in which he represented Israel during his visit to Washington."


Netanyahu's meeting with US President Barack Obama was better than suggested by the media, said Lieberman, adding that while the two may not agree on the best course of action, "they agree on the goals, so the disagreements are tactical."


'Things just like they were in 1967'

Speaking at an Israeli Chambers of Commerce function, Lieberman addressed the Palestinian Authority's demand of the International Crimes Court (ICC) in The Hague, to investigate possible war crimes committed by Israel during its January offensive in the Gaza Strip, calling on the PA to "rectify any unacceptable actions, if such were indeed made.


"Hopefully, things will work out. We have to focus on the situation on the ground… We have to better the Palestinians' economic situation and better the sense of personal safety. There is a lot to be done and that is what we should focus on – not unnecessary arguments." 


Lieberman further expressed his disappointment with the Palestinian leadership: "You can't have it both ways. You can't accept our help on one hand and ask the ICC to charge us with crimes against humanity on the other.


"(Such actions) go against all of the treaties we have signed, in letter and in spirit, and there is no way we will agree to it. We are not looking for confrontations. We support negotiations and we are trying to come up with a solution for coexistence, but we are done groveling."


As for the US administration's demands of Israel, especially those calling for the cessation of settlement construction, Lieberman seemed bewildered: "(The Palestinians) are claiming the settlements are abstracting peace, but why is the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria the obstacle for peace? Were things different before 1967? Back then, we didn’t have settlements and we didn’t have peace, either. Things were exactly as they are now – with tension and terror." 


פרסום ראשון: 05.21.09, 14:09
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