(photo credit: )
Allowing southern Lebanon to be patrolled by an international peacekeeping force would be an unwise decision for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday at a Jerusalem press conference for foreign journalists.
Olmert expressed support for the idea for the first time on Sunday in a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier. Lieberman, who has made a point of not criticizing the government since the escalation in the North began, had advice for the prime minister.
"We have had very bad experiences with international forces," Lieberman said. "When Hizbullah kidnapped three soldiers, the UNIFIL forces collaborated with Hizbullah against us. We have had international observers in Hebron, and all the way back to the Six Day War every experience with international forces has been bad."
Lieberman spoke to a group of journalists at Mishkenot Sha'ananim's Israel Newsmakers Forum. Lieberman said the keys to ending the escalation in the North were for the international community to pressure Syria and Iran and to insist on the implementation of UN Resolution 1559, which calls for the Lebanese army to patrol the border and for Hizbullah to be dismantled.
Two weeks after calling for the establishment of an emergency national-unity government, Lieberman said he no longer believed such a government would be needed today. He said Israel Beiteinu would continue to support the war from the opposition. "We don't want to be part of this government," he said. "We don't believe in this government."
Lieberman outlined his plans for complete separation from the Palestinians, territorial exchanges and loyalty oaths to skeptical reporters. Denying charges that his plans were racist against Israeli Arabs, Lieberman said he would require ultra-Orthodox Jews to take loyalty oaths as well.
"I think it's our right to demand loyalty from our people," Lieberman said. "I don't see any difference between Natorei Karta and [Balad MK] Azmi Bishara. You must recognize Israel as a Jewish, Zionist country and serve in the army or in alternative service."
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