Austrian minister calls Liberman 'unbearable'

Norbert Darabos says Israel using Iran to divert attention from domestic woes, Kadima in gov't can "mitigate radicalization."

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May 19, 2012 22:54
1 minute read.
Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos [file]

Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos 370 (R). (photo credit: Leonhard Foeger / Reuters)

 
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Austria’s Defense Minister Norbert Darabos called Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman “unbearable” in an interview published Saturday, downplayed the Iranian threat, and accused Israel of using that threat – and the Palestinian issue – to divert attention from domestic woes.

“Mr. Liberman is unbearable for me as a member of the Israeli government,” Darabos said in an interview published Saturday on the website of the Austrian daily Die Presse. Saying that Israeli policies overall were difficult for him, Darabos said he was glad Kadima entered the government because it could “mitigate radicalization.”

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Liberman’s office declined comment.

Austria is considered one of Israel’s harshest critics inside the EU, along with Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg, and was one of only two EU countries that voted for a UN Human Rights Council decision in March to establish a fact-finding mission to probe the effects of settlements on Palestinian human rights. Six other EU countries abstained on the measure.

Regarding Iran, Darabos said that Israel’s “threats” were“unnecessary” because “Iran is not ready to build the bomb.”

An Israel military step would trigger a conflagration in the region that could be difficult to control, and would create sympathy for Iran even among Arab nations that are critical of it, Darabos said.

Israel, he claimed, was using “outside enemies such as Iran or the Palestinians” to “distract attention from internal social problems.”

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