Liberman: Government mustn't have stance on Hebron shooter until trial's end

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July 25, 2016 14:15

Defense minister launches veiled criticism of his predecessor, Moshe Ya'alon, who said that the soldier had sinned.

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Avigdor Liberman

Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The government must withhold expressing a position on the infantry soldier on trial for shooting dead a Palestinian attacker until the end of the legal process, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told IDF cadets at an induction base on Monday.

Referring to the trial of Elor Azaria, Liberman launched a veiled criticism of his predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon, who said that the soldier had violated the rules of engagement. “To say ahead of time that the soldier sinned and harmed norms was a severe mistake,” Liberman said, according to Israel Radio.

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Day after he rebuked Army Radio chief Yaron Dekel for broadcasting texts by the late Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, Liberman denied that the Defense Ministry was intervening in the radio station’s programming, but that it was involved, however, in the “spirit of the Israeli narrative that is passed on to the younger generation,” Israel Radio reported.

Addressing the future of the station, Liberman said he placed his confidence in the IDF chief of staff and the Defense Ministry’s director- generation, who he said are examining the future of Army Radio.

“We live in a very difficult neighborhood, which is undergoing deep changes, not for the good,” Liberman told the cadets. “It is a very problematic neighborhood and we do the maximum [to secure ourselves]. There must be no illusions. First of all, we have to win. Then, we have a chance of reaching a [diplomatic] arrangement. If you are weak, there is no arrangement.”

Liberman also joked that biblical Moses’s “basic strategic mistake was to lead us here, instead of to the Italian–Swiss border.”

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