Lieberman: Israel's security is 'non negotiable'

FM says rockets in south, J'lem bombing are "incitement," doesn't see any Palestinian "readiness for direct talks with Israel."

March 24, 2011 17:03
2 minute read.
Avigdor Lieberman and Alain Juppe

Avigdor Lieberman and Alain Juppe 311. (photo credit: Erez Lichtfeld)

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who said last week that the EU should keep in mind the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state, told Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Thursday in Paris that France viewed Israel’s security as “non-negotiable,” but added that the current status quo was “untenable.”

According to the French media, Juppe, meeting Lieberman for the first time since becoming France’s foreign minister last month, expressed France’s solidarity with Israel following Wednesday’s bombing in Jerusalem.

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Before the meeting, Juppe told reporters that he would tell Lieberman that given the dramatic changes in the region, the current status quo was unsustainable, and that it was time for change. He called on Israel to “regain the initiative.”

He also said the EU would step up pressure so the sides would resume negotiations.

Lieberman, meanwhile, issued a statement saying that in his meeting with Juppe, he said the Palestinian Authority was expending a great deal of effort and showing willingness to reconcile with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but “not showing any willingness to enter direct negotiations with Israel.”

Lieberman said the recent escalation in violence, including Wednesday’s bombing in Jerusalem and the recent murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, was a result of “institutionalized incitement by the Palestinian Authority against Israel.”

He warned of stepped-up efforts by “radical forces” to smuggle weapons into Gaza, and said the arms, munitions and military equipment seized on the Victoria ship last week was not an isolated incident.

Thanking Juppe for France’s unequivocal condemnation of the terror attack in Jerusalem, Lieberman said the terrorists were fighting the West without making any distinction of nationalities. He pointed out that kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, as well as Ruth Fogel, the mother murdered in Itamar, held French citizenship.

Turning to regional issues, Lieberman told Juppe that Israel welcomed the West’s determined position to protect civilians in Libya from the brutality of its ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. Those same principles, he added, should not be applied selectively, but should also guide Western policy toward Syria and Iran, where opponents of those regimes are being mercilessly killed. Besides, Lieberman said, the foreign policies of those countries vis-à-vis Iran and Syria’s negative influence in the region are “much more dangerous” than that of Libya.

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