Liberman: International coalition needed to deal with ‘world of terror,’ not only Islamic State

Foreign minister says Israel strengthened Hamas politically during Gaza fighting.

By
September 9, 2014 20:46
4 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Avigdor Liberman. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The United Nations should set up a permanent coalition to fight a “world of terrorism,” not only Islamic State, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Tuesday.

“We need to understand that we are always fighting the last war, never seeing and anticipating the next war. The future war is to prevent terrorist organizations from becoming terrorist states,” Liberman said, speaking at the annual conference held by the International Institute for Counter- Terrorism in Herzliya.

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This war must be fought by a world united in the goal of defeating terrorism, because terrorist organizations that become states would radically alter the world order and pose a danger to the free world, he said.

The foreign minister welcomed the US initiative to “take things into its hands and organize the coalition against ISIS [Islamic State].”

This initiative should be expanded to battle not only Islamic State, but “against the world of terror,” he said.

Liberman suggested setting up one world center – through the auspices of the UN – to establish norms for fighting the terrorist organizations, and to organize the coalition against terrorism.

Hypocrisy and double standards of some in the world toward different terrorist groups needed to end if the battle against world terrorism would succeed, he said. It was intolerable for some states to want to preserve the Taliban, Hezbollah or Hamas, he said without naming names.

Regarding Hamas, Liberman said Israel strengthened the organization politically by not roundly defeating it militarily.

A leading advocate inside the government for toppling Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, the foreign minister said that if before the campaign Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was the dominant force inside the PA, polls today show if an election were held now, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win handily.

The biggest danger in not decisively defeating Hamas is that its political strength gets stronger after every military round, he said.

“The most dangerous thing is for terrorist organizations in direct confrontations with states not only to survive, but to get stronger.”

Liberman pointed out that starting with Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, each round after that – Pillar of Defense in November 2012 and the recent fighting – has seen Hamas’s military capabilities, judged by the range of its missiles, increase significantly.

As for a diplomatic process with the Palestinians, Liberman repeated what he has been saying for months: that a separate deal with them was doomed to fail, and that what was needed was a “package deal” that included the moderate Arab world, the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

Not only in fighting terrorism, but also in diplomacy, “we’re always fighting the last war, not the next one,” he said.

While the Middle East has gone through radical changes over the past three years, the inertia of the Oslo process remains a constant, the foreign minister said.

“If I look at the Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993, and look at today’s reality, we are in a new reality,” he said.

“But we are still using the old tools. Even in a completely different reality we are still continuing with the inertia of Oslo.”

Liberman is scheduled to leave on Wednesday for Lithuania, the first leg of a threestop trip that will take him to Los Angeles and Washington.

He is scheduled to meet with President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius in Lithuania.

In a press briefing earlier this week, Liberman praised Lithuania – along with Rwanda and Nigeria – for playing a constructive role in the UN Security Council during the fighting in Gaza.

He is scheduled to speak at the Jewish National Fund’s annual conference in Los Angeles on Monday, and then fly to Washington for a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday.

Abbas, meanwhile, is likely to meet with Kerry this week during the US diplomat’s visit to the region to bolster the coalition against Islamic State.

PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said Abbas and Kerry would discuss the PA president’s latest political initiative to establish a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines within three years.

Malki said the PA leadership was still awaiting responses from the US and Israel to Abbas’s plan.

Last week, a senior Palestinian official said the US administration had expressed reservations about the plan.

The announcement followed a meeting in Washington between Kerry and Palestinian officials Saeb Erekat and Majed Faraj, who presented him with details of the initiative.

Malki told the Voice of Palestine radio station that a positive Israeli and American response would pave the way for the resumption of peace talks for a period of three months.

He warned that a negative response would prompt the Palestinians to go to the UN Security Council with a request to set a timeline for “ending Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of assurances provided by the US administration at the beginning of this year.”

A US veto at the Security Council of the request would put to test US credibility in dealing with the Palestinian issue, Malki warned.


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