FM: PA UNESCO membership a ‘Pyrrhic victory’

Foreign minister tells Knesset panel: Jordan is not Palestine, we’ll remove Gaza blockade if France sends Foreign Legion.

By
November 14, 2011 17:19
2 minute read.
Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

 
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The Palestinian Authority lost more than it gained by joining UNESCO, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in Sunday’s Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.

“The cost of Palestinian membership in UNESCO cost them more than it benefits them – especially because they lost US aid,” Lieberman explained. “It’s a Pyrrhic victory.”

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“Contrary to what many have been saying, Israel is not isolated. Many people want to visit Israel, and our ministers receive invitations to foreign countries.

Experts from around the world want to learn about our scientific and agricultural developments,” he said.

However, PA Mahmoud Abbas has become increasingly isolated among his own people, according to Lieberman.

“His isolation is the reason he made speeches and statements about the Palestinian prisoners released in the Schalit deal, gave them money and promised to build them houses,” the foreign minister said, emphasizing that this includes terrorists involved in the deadly Sbarro (in Jerusalem in August 2001) and Park Hotel (on Seder night in 2002 in Netanya) attacks.

“Abbas wants to ensure his place in history,” Lieberman explained. “He’s promoting an ideology that is extreme even to some senior PA officials.”

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Lieberman discussed the Arab Spring, saying that “regional turbulence” is bringing Islamist parties to power “that all share an anti-Israel message.”

“Instability in the Middle East is not good for anyone,” he said, emphasizing that it is “a major danger for Jordan.

“Those who say that Jordan is Palestine are mostly harming Israel,” Lieberman added. “That would create a continuous Palestinian state which would endanger us. It’s in our interest for this not to happen.

“Stability in Jordan is in Israel’s interest.

Our shared border is the longest and quietest. Both sides enjoy the benefits of peace and economic cooperation.”

As far as Hamas is concerned, he said he recently spoke to French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé about lifting the blockade on Gaza.

“I told the French foreign minister when he visited that I can remove every restriction on entering Gaza, as long as the French send us their Foreign Legion and not just girls with olive branches,” Lieberman quipped. “Of course, he said no.”

The foreign minister also called for the world to “strangle” Teheran with sanctions, explaining that “Iran is the international community’s problem, not just Israel’s.”

According to Lieberman, Western countries are using only 30 percent of possible sanctions against Iran.

“Even if the sanctions on Iran are only from the West, without help from Russia and China, it’s enough to strangle Iran,” he said.

Commenting on the IAEA’s report on Iranian nuclear weapons, Lieberman said that “the facts published in the report are those that are 200% certain. This tells us that reality is much worse.”

However, he stated that “it’s important to take a breath and not make major statements” because “with all due respect to the State of Israel, there are much bigger countries that can take care of this problem more efficiently.”

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