Lieberman: Palestinian statehood declaration a 'red line'

FM says West should resolve Kashmir conflict before trying here; Hamas more powerful than Fatah, waiting to seize power from it in W. Bank.

March 14, 2011 15:57
2 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)


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Addressing the possibility that the Palestinian Authority might unilaterally declare statehood later this year, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called such a move a red line that shouldn't be crossed.

"Israel has no shortage of leverage that it can use on the PA" in a way that is also unilateral, the foreign minister told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

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Lieberman also leveled criticism at the international community, saying: "The western world isn't succeeding at resolving conflicts in the world. If they succeed to solve the problems in Kashmir, we'll allow them to help us to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian problem."

He added, "Until today, the international community hasn't upheld any agreement signed with Israel - exemplified by [UN Security Council] Resolution 1701 in southern Lebanon that hasn't been implemented."

Lieberman also said that the Foreign Ministry believes that Hamas is stronger than Fatah in the West Bank.

"The Foreign Ministry's appraisal, contrary to others' beliefs, is that in the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip, Hamas is stronger than Fatah today," Lieberman told MKs.

He explained the estimation that "Hamas does not want to seize the West Bank now due to realistic assessments." They are waiting for the day when PA President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad "obtain the the maximum that the Palestinians are able to receive from the international community, then they will seize power," he said.

The Palestinian Authority, Lieberman said, "does not want negotiations with Israel because they think they can get a lot more through the international arena."

When asked about the different assessments coming from the military, security services and the his own ministry, he answered that "the Foreign Ministry was the only one that was predicting the fall of Mubarak from power prior to it happening."

The foreign minister added that the actor who "is exploiting the situation in Japan and the disturbances in the Middle East is Iran," who he said is hiding its attempts to obtain nuclear weapons and liquidating internal opposition leaders."

Tehran, he said, is trying to "penetrate places where they didn't previously have a foothold such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as to improve its cooperation with Syria."

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