Lieberman gives Ynet interview
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Photo: AP
Clashes in Egypt Friday night
Photo: AP

Lieberman: Situation in Egypt 'not over yet'

In interview to Ynet, former foreign minister comments on developments in Egypt, says Egyptian instability projects on entire region, Israel wise to hold tongue until dust settles. Regarding peace process 'talk of breakthrough premature'

Head of Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee and former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, is the first Israeli official to comment on the developments in Egypt, during which the army toppled the regime amid massive protests and some 30 people lost their lives.


In a special Saturday morning interview to Ynet, Lieberman said Israel should be in no hurry to publicly make its opinion known in regards to Egypt, but nonetheless claims that "we haven’t seen the end of this yet. The issue is far from over."


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Regarding the clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators Friday night, Lieberman said: "This is our biggest neighbor, the first we made a peace accord with. It is obvious its destabilization influences the entire region. It is in our interest that Egypt will be stable and sovereign over all its territory."


Lieberman does not foresee any immediate threat to the 30-year-old peace agreement between the two states: "The peace agreement is currently not at the center of the debate, and there is no connection to Israel; but we all understand that Egypt is not just any country, and there can still be surprises."


Regarding the different regional responses to Egypt, Lieberman said: "If you look around, you see there is no symmetry between the different responses the different states and factions have made in regards to the events in Egypt.


"For example, the first to publicly welcome the interim president were the Saudis. But what is most amazing is the Turkish reaction, even a superficial glance at Turkish media shows that it is the number one issue there now. Even Erdogan commented on the military coup and Turkish history."


Regarding the possibility that such a scenario would take place in Turkey he said: "The massive protests have already begun there, that is a fact. The Turkish media has already starting making the comparison between what is happening in Egypt and that which is happening in Turkey. It is fascinating to see how Islamist oppositionists view the developments in Egypt.


"I don't know if there will be a revolution there. We need to follow the events and see. But it is clear that Egypt has taken over the Turkish discourse, both on and offline."


When asked whether the Egyptian revolution was cause for optimism, Lieberman said: "It is not a matter of optimism or pessimism. These are deep process which we should not be involved in. Our position is not one of for or against. We think stability in Egypt will project on regional stability; and it is obvious that what is happening in Libya and Syria is no source of comfort for Israel – and the smuggling of weapons to Israel is only one such example."


Nonetheless, the former foreign minister believes that the events in Egypt are far from over: "It is clear that the last word has yet to be said. The Brotherhood is not exactly the type of organization that will keep its cool after Morsi's ouster. But it is still too early to tell, I just want to stress that things are not over yet."


According to Lieberman, the true background of the events in Egypt is not Islam, but rather the worsening economic conditions of the country. "The trigger was the economic situation, and in that regards it makes little difference whether the person leading the country is secular or Islamist. Without a response to the issue of unemployment personal safety things will not be able to continue. People just want a decent life."


Regarding Hamas , which is closely affiliated to the now deposed Muslim Brotherhood, he said: "There is no doubt that Hamas is now faced with a serious dilemma. They were the first to praise the Muslim Brotherhood's accent to power, and they followed them in their (political) battle against Assad and the former solution offered by Iran. But now they are faced with a whole new set of questions."


Peace? Not optimistic

Regarding the reports of US Secretary of State John Kerry's plan to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians by asking Israel to release of some 103 Palestinian prisoners serving time in Israeli prisons from a time prior to the signing Oslo accords and halting settlement construction, as was reported by London-based Al Hayat Saturday, Lieberman said: "It is clear that the conditions needed for a breakthrough (in peace talks) have yet to come about.


"The Arab League is nonexistent, the situation in Egypt is unclear, I thing talk of a breakthrough is premature and overly optimistic. It is needless to say that we (Yisrael Beiteinu) will fight against any move to halt construction and free terrorists. We will object to any concession.


Regarding internal Likud fears that the members of Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party will take over the Likud after the two parties complete their merger, he said: "The Likud is a big party with a tradition of its own. Its members will decide whatever they decide and that is their right. Regarding the merger, after the municipal elections we will assess the situation."



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פרסום ראשון: 07.06.13, 14:10
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