Lieberman Faymann 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israel should renew construction in the settlements once the 10-month freeze
declared last November ends on September 26, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
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According to a statement put out by Lieberman’s office,
the foreign minister made the statement in separate meetings Wednesday with
visiting Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, and Gianfranco Fini, the president
of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
Lieberman told the two visitors he
did not see any other option other than renewing building in Judea and Samaria
when the moratorium expired.
Lieberman said that up until now, all
demands for confidence- building gestures had been directed at Israel, and that
even though Israel had taken significant steps toward the Palestinians, the
Palestinian side continued its incitement and anti-Israel efforts in the
A day earlier, Lieberman said that September
would pose a “big test” for Israel, since during that month, a decision would
have to be made on the moratorium, Turkey would take over the rotating
presidency of the UN Security Council for a month, and the Goldstone Commission
report would return to the UN.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said
repeatedly that construction in the settlements would resume after the
moratorium expires, but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has
intimated that there would be no direct talks if the moratorium were not
A decision to renew settlement construction is expected to draw
criticism not only from the Palestinians, but also from the US and international
community, while a decision to extend the moratorium would be controversial
domestically and place Netanyahu in a difficult position vis-à-vis some of his
coalition partners, as well as some of his Likud MKs.
Lieberman said the
international community needed to take a “more balanced approach toward Israel,”
and that it was not right that there was one standard for the rest of the world,
and another one for Israel.
Earlier this week, at a meeting Lieberman
held with Dirk Niebel, Germany’s minister of economic cooperation and
development, the foreign minister called on the world not to be hypocritical. He
said that in the last three weeks, thousands of Muslims had been killed by other
Muslims – in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as Kurds
killed by Turks – yet the world remained quiet.
But the world deals with
Israel differently because it is democratic, Niebel is said to have responded,
to which Lieberman replied, “And what about Turkey?” Netanyahu echoed this theme
of a double standard toward Israel in a meeting he held with Fini, saying many
people were always calling on Israel to abide by international standards, when
in fact international standards – not different ones – needed to be applied to
Israel. Netanyahu was referring specifically to the demand for an international
commission of inquiry to look into the Gaza flotilla incident, saying similar
demands had never been made of other countries in conflict
During a joint press appearance with Faymann, Netanyahu
called on the world to intervene and prevent a boatful of women from Lebanon
from sailing to Gaza, saying there was no reason for these boats and that Israel
had lifted its restrictions on what was allowed into Gaza. He noted the irony
that Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas – not exactly champions of women’s rights – were
sending a female flotilla to Gaza.
“Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, which want
to return the world to the middle ages; which don’t let their women
or express themselves freely; whose women live in subjugation, and
without basic rights and subject to violence – precisely those regimes
ones organizing a boat of women as propaganda against Israel,” he
Faymann, meanwhile, began his state visit by placing a
the grave of Theodor Herzl, the first state leader to do so since Israel
its protocol procedures and initiated a policy to honor Herzl’s 150th
by having all visiting heads of state lay a wreath at his grave.
President Joe Biden did so during his visit in March, but he is not a
The only head of state to come since then was Brazilian
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose refusal to do so clouded his trip
The Austrian government has contributed funds to the museum
Herzl honoring the Zionist visionary, who lived part of his life in