lieberman threatening 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrived in Brussels on Friday for
separate talks with officials of several European Union nations after
an official meeting between the EU and Israel was called off.
Upon arriving in Brussels, Lieberman criticized the Quartet’s earlier
statement, according to which Israel’s plan to construct new housing
units in Jerusalem was a hindrance to peace negotiations which, if started,
would see the creation of an independent Palestinian state within 24
According to Israel Radio, Lieberman said that the Quartet’s statement
ignores the fact that the foundations of peace must be set before peace
can be achieved. Peace, he was quoted as saying, is not something that
can be forced upon two parties or saddled to an unrealistic timeline.
Lieberman reportedly said that such statements only made real peace
between Israel and the Palestinian a more remote possibility.
The Israeli embassy said Lieberman will meet with representatives of Europe's Jewish organizations during the weekend.
On Monday, he will meet with foreign ministers from Germany, Lithuania
and Finland while attending the EU's monthly foreign affairs council.
EU spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said Lieberman was supposed to attend a
joint EU-Israel committee meeting Monday, but this was postponed until
next month because EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton had just
visited Israel and Gaza this week.
Gallach denied that the postponement was not meant to be a snub, but
the move came as EU-Israeli ties are under increasing strain.
In December, the European Union accused Israel of trying to divide it
to stop it from passing a resolution calling for Jerusalem to be the
shared capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state. The measure
was adopted despite Israel's opposition.
The European Union also has criticized Israel over its suspected role
in the slaying of a Hamas militant in Dubai and the killers' alleged
use of forged EU passports.
Israel, meanwhile, was irked by Ashton's trip to the Gaza Strip, which
remains under Hamas control. Ashton was the first senior diplomat to
set foot in the blockaded territory in more than a year.
During her visit, a rocket fired by Gaza militants smashed into a
greenhouse in an Israeli border village, killing a Thai worker. It was
the first such death since Israel's massive offensive against
Hamas-ruled Gaza more than a year ago.
The Israeli air force responded early Friday by striking six targets in southern Gaza. No injuries were reported.