Liberman to Haley: Make Lebanon expel Hamas leaders

“Lebanon is a sovereign country that maintains relations with the US, relations that include meetings at the highest levels between senior officials in Beirut and Washington.”

June 11, 2017 03:08
2 minute read.
Nikki Haley Avigdor Liberman

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.. (photo credit: DANA SARGA/MINISTRY OF DEFENSE)

Jerusalem on Friday called on the US to use its influence in Lebanon to get Beirut to expel three Hamas leaders who have recently taken refuge in the country and begun planning attacks from there on Israel.

The request came during a meeting in Jerusalem between Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and UN Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on the last full day of her three-day visit to Israel.

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“The three individuals, headed by Saleh al-Arouri, will continue to facilitate terror attacks against Israel from within Lebanese territory. They will, at the same time, strengthen the bonds between Hamas and Hezbollah,” Liberman said.

“Arouri is a dangerous terrorist responsible for heinous attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel, and he cannot be permitted to continue to act,” the minister continued.

Last year Israel demanded that Arouri, who was operating from Turkey, be expelled from there before normalizing relations with Ankara.

A report last week in the Lebanese media said that Qatar – under unprecedented pressure from other Arab countries to stop aiding terrorist organizations – ordered all Hamas members to leave the country.

“Lebanon is a sovereign country that maintains relations with the US, relations that include meetings at the highest levels between senior officials in Beirut and Washington,” Liberman said. “From our point of view Lebanon is responsible for what is happening there and for terror acts emanating from there, and therefore it is important that the US act with the Lebanese government with the goal of expelling the three Hamas officials and prevent the establishment of an additional terror command on its territory.”

Liberman and Haley also discussed the campaign of delegitimization against Israel, and Hamas’s refusal to return the bodies of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, as well as its holding of two Israeli citizens, Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed – asking for her assistance in this matter.

According to Liberman’s office, he also discussed the Palestinian Authority’s payments of salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of terrorists, and gave her a list of the American citizens killed by Palestinian terrorists.

At the opening of the meeting he presented Haley with a miniature high-heeled shoe, a reference to her speech at AIPAC’s policy conference in March in which she blasted the UN bias against Israel and said, “I wear high heels, it’s not for a fashion statement, it’s because if I see something wrong I will kick it every single time.”

“You are a true friend of Israel, and we appreciate your great help and the struggle you lead against those who want to harm and slander us,” Liberman said. “We all remember with great appreciation your saying that you arrived at the UN with high heels, not as a fashion statement but to kick those that vilify Israel. So as a token of our appreciation I give this souvenir, and you are welcome to use it whenever you need.”

Haley also visited Yad Vashem on Friday, where she toured the museum and took part in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. In the guest book she wrote the following: “We must always honor and remember the lives lost during one of the most horrible times in history. There is a lesson here. Leadership is not about power.

Leadership is the acknowledgment and value of human dignity. We must always choose a side.”

Eytan Halon contributed to this report.

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