Lieberman. Not looking for a crisis
Photo: Gil Yohanan

FM: We won't turn into punching bag

Lieberman surprised at row sparked by his remarks against Turkey, says 'I don't think I presented anything unknown or different from what I usually say. I find it unacceptable that the other side can do anything while we have to practice restraint'

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel cannot afford to become "a punching bag" in its conflict with Turkey. As for the negotiations with Palestinians, Lieberman said that "Israel has done all in its power to talk, and look at the end result."


Addressing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speech, which accused Israel of "invading Lebanon and Gaza to kill women and children", Lieberman said that "we try to practice restraint, but we can't afford to turn into a punching bag."


Speaking at the start of an Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting, the foreign minister said he was surprised by the media uproar after he called Erdogan "a liar".


"I was surprised by the strong responses to what I told the ambassadors yesterday. It was just an informal meeting in which each person presents what they believe in. I don't think that I presented anything unknown or different from what I usually say."


Lieberman criticized the Turkish establishment for failing to address Sunday's mass anti-Israel protest in Istanbul during the reception ceremony for the Mavi Marmara ship.


"It's intolerable. We can restrain ourselves, but I find it unacceptable that the other side can do anything while we have to keep quiet and practice restraint so as not to anger the land owner. Soon we'll have to call the British Mandate back."


He thanked the Turks for helping put out the Carmel wildfire, but noted that Israel had helped earthquake victims in Turkey in 1999.


'Common sense needed'

The foreign minister has no plans to practice restraint when it comes to the peace process with the Palestinians either.


"There are constant questions, claims, why don't we sit, why don't we talk? Israel has done all in its power to talk. Yisrael Beiteinu did its share as well. There was the Bar-Ilan issue, which wasn't simple, two states for two people. then there was the matter of supporting a 10-month freeze. The question is: What is the end result?"


Lieberman added that "we must not forget what happened during the Second Lebanon War and the Gush Katif evacuation. We must act with common sense… Perhaps there is a desire to have Israel become a punching bag. I don't think I want us to become a punching bag. We will practice restraint where we can and respond where we can't."


The Yisrael Beiteinu chairman concluded by saying that he hoped the State Budget would be approved without any coalition crisis. "We are not looking for reasons for a crises or friction. But we won't give up on our interests and promises, and I respect every single piece of paper we signed. I hope no one adopts a policy of crises and frictions."



פרסום ראשון: 12.27.10, 15:38
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