Liberman vows to quit politics if convicted in trial

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
April 20, 2013 22:28

Former FM Avigdor Liberman says once a verdict is reached in his corruption trial, if guilty, he has no "obsession to stay in politics."

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Avigdor Liberman leaving court after first hearing in corruption trial, February 17, 2013.

Liberman trial starts 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman vowed over the weekend to leave politics if he is convicted in his ongoing corruption trial.

The trial is expected to be completed in July and a verdict given by October. In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, Liberman said he wants to be cleared of the charges against him, but did not sound like a conviction would upset him.

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“I make tough decisions easily,” he said. “I can very easily decide to leave politics.

I never thought I would be a Knesset member. I was not born a minister and I don’t have an obsession to stay in politics. If I’ll be convicted, I will do what a fair person must do.”

When asked what he intended to do following his political career, Liberman joked he would become a professional tennis player.

Liberman called his former deputy Danny Ayalon, who has testified against him, a liar. He mocked Ayalon for praising him before leaving him off Yisrael Beytenu’s Knesset list and condemning him.

“The fact that the man spits into the well he drank from says a lot about him,” Liberman said.

On diplomatic issues, Liberman downplayed American efforts to reignite the peace process with the Palestinians and reiterated his opposition to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey for the deaths on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. He blamed national security adviser Ya’acov Amidror for tricking Netanyahu into accepting the deal.

“If I was still foreign minister I don’t think it would have happened,” Liberman said. “The Turks would not have gotten an apology or compensation. We will see long-term how wrong this move was.”

Liberman, who chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, called Balad MK Haneen Zoabi, who was on the ship, and other Arab MKs “terrorists.”


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