Lieberman: Israel, US 'on same page' on Iran

Lieberman pleased with results of PM-Obama talks; calls differences in approach to nuke threat "tactical."

Netanyahu Obama white house 248.88 (photo credit: Moshe Milner / GPO)
Netanyahu Obama white house 248.88
(photo credit: Moshe Milner / GPO)
Israel and the US are on the same page as far as the Iranian threat goes, and any disagreements between the countries are merely tactical, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday. Speaking at a meeting of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce in Tel Aviv, the foreign minister spoke in positive terms of the results of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's meeting with US President Barack Obama earlier this week. "Israel and the US share an understanding on strategic goals, first and foremost dismantling Iran from the ability to attain non-conventional arms, identifying the Islamic state as a cause for instability in the Middle East and involved in subversive acts in Egypt, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip," he said. "This identification is shared by all. In addition, it's clear that Israel's qualitative advantage must be retained, and that the end goal is security and economic stability with the Palestinians." Lieberman praised Netanyahu for the "admirable way he represented Israel in the US," and played down the tensions that might exist between the leaders and their agendas. "Their methods may differ, but there is agreement on the goals. The argument is tactical, the meeting [between Netanyahu and Obama] was much more positive than reported here and there." The foreign minister went on to reprimand Fatah leadership, which to his opinion was not showing Israel due gratitude in face of the assistance Israel provided Fatah members persecuted by Hamas in Gaza during and after operation Cast Lead, saying, "You can't have it both ways." He also lamented the fact that Israel hospitalized Fatah people in its hospitals: "On the one hand [they] rely on us for help and aid, and on the other hand file a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice against Israel for allegedly committing crimes against humanity." "This is contradictory to all the agreements we signed, contradictory to the spirit of the agreements and there is no way we will tolerate this situation. We are not looking for confrontations, we are for discussion and trying to create a reality of coexistence. But our time of groveling is over," he said. Lieberman clarified his stance on the US demand to freeze settlement activity in order to enable a peace process to be set into motion. "There is an attempt to portray the settlements as an obstacle to peace. I say - let's leave prejudices aside. Why has it been decided that it is the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria which are an obstacle to peace? What was the situation till 1967? There were neither settlements nor peace, it was the same - the same tension and terror," said Lieberman.