lieberman making a point.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A day after igniting controversy by saying Israel should emulate the divided island of Cyprus, Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman found common ground with another country caught in a territorial dispute.
In a meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic at the Knesset on Monday, he said Israel and Serbia had a shared interest in "creating a uniform code to deal with minorities."
"Kosovo is the true test case for the rest of the worldâ€¦ to see if the international community will try to coerce a solution or allow the two parties to reach an agreement on their own," Lieberman said.
Serbian FM: Arabs blocking peace talks
Kosovo is a province in southern Serbia that has been under UN control since 1999, when NATO conducted a 78-day campaign in what was then Yugoslavia. From 1998 to 1999 more than a million ethnic Albanians fled Kosovo, and tens of thousands of Albanians and Serbs were killed.
"There are many similarities between the former Yugoslavia and Israel, in that neither have a homogeneous makeup," Lieberman said, adding that this "clash of civilizations" was the basis of violence in both areas.
Lieberman told Draskovic the solution here could not be a homogeneous Palestinian state on one side, while Israel remained a binational state with a 22 percent to 23% Arab minority.
In the past, Lieberman has advocated the idea of "transfer" - moving Israeli Arabs to a Palestinian state.
"In every solution we need goodwill on both sides," Lieberman said. "In the past, we have [shown the Palestinians goodwill]... The problem is that our gestures are not being imitated on the other side."
"Everything we see indicates that there is a crash of civilizations here that can't be solved as we have been trying to solve it," he added.
Draskovic said he could not understand the Islamic world's reaction to certain events, such as the recent controversy over cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.
"I am a Christian and there are hundreds of cartoons about Jesus, and there are books that claimed that he didn't exist or that he was a woman," he said. "But you don't see Christians protesting in the way Muslims doâ€¦ The approach of Muslims and the free world are two parallel lines that don't meet."
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