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Lieberman Upstages AIPAC: Don’t Count on United States

Lieberman warns that a US unable to intervene to stop Assad’s “systematic murder” can’t be counted on to aid Israel in time of need.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/4/2012, 12:00 PM

Foreign Minister Lieberman
Foreign Minister Lieberman
Reuters

Plain-speaking Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Sunday that if the United States is too weak to be able to intervene to stop Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ”systematic murder of innocent civilians,” it can’t be counted on to come to Israel’s aid.

"If the international community is incapable of stopping the massacres in Syria, what is the value of its promises to protect the security of Israel?" he told Voice of Israel government radio Sunday as American and Israeli leaders prepare to address the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington.

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are expected to outdo each other in trying to show who is the most pro-Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres also will address the conference, with the Iranian nuclear threat the number one issue.

Lieberman, known for his no-nonsense and straight-talk manner, made it clear he is not interested on jumping on the “American-Israeli friendship” bandwagon.

He charged that the failure of the United States and the Western world to stop Assad’s slaughter of thousands of Syrian civilians "challenges all the promises of the international community that they are responsible for our security.

Openly questioning the view that Israel must act in coordination with the United States, particularly concerning a military strike on Iran’s unsupervised nuclear facilities, Lieberman emphasized that Israel is an “independent state.”

“Ultimately, the State of Israel will take the decisions that are most appropriate based on its evaluation of the situation,” he said.

Regardless of Lieberman's tough talk, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama are trying to show they are the best of friends, despite previous unfriendly meetings.

The United States and Israel “can be very frank with each other, very blunt with each other, very honest with each other,” President Obama told The Atlantic on Friday. “For the most part, when we have our differences, they are tactical and not strategic. “We have a common vision about where we want to go.”