Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lieberman: We Are Always Loved When We Make Concessions

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
July 2, 2009

( Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday belittled the global focus on the growth of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, and said there would be no more unilateral concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

"It is not a coincidence that since [the] Oslo [Accords] we have not reached the end of the conflict," Lieberman said, addressing a gathering of Druze supporters in the Arab city of Shfaram. The meeting was held at the home of Hamad Amar, a Knesset Member representing Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu party. In the last Knesset elections, the mixed Druze, Christian and Muslim Shfaram gave Israel Beiteinu 14.4% of the vote.

The Foreign Minister said that the Netanyahu administration is prepared to take responsibility for negotiating an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, he said, "taking responsibility does not mean always making concessions." Past Israeli concessions in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority have not had positive results, Lieberman observed, "even though we are always loved when we make concessions."

According to Lieberman, the issue of Israeli-PA negotiations has been blown out of all proportion in the international community. He referred to comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier on Thursday calling for a complete halt to construction in Judea and Samaria.

"I am convinced that there must be a stop to this," Merkel told the Bundestag, "otherwise we will not reach the urgently needed two-state solution."

"North Korea is firing missiles and we are continuing to deal with that little house in Judea and Samaria?" Lieberman asked sharply. "Against the backdrop of events in Tehran, should this be the top priority of the global community?" He added that "Israel's true friends, in the United States and Germany," must be made to understand that the government is not going to smother the normal lives of Jews living in Judea and Samaria.

"Israel has no greater friend than the United States," Lieberman added, "which will remain Israel's most faithful and important ally, even when there are differences of opinion."

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