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      Austrian Minister: Lieberman is 'Unbearable'

      Austria's defense minister lashed out against Israel this weekend, calling Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “unbearable.”
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 5/20/2012, 11:37 AM

      Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos
      Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos
      Reuters

      Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos lashed out against Israel this weekend, criticizing the country’s threats against Iran’s nuclear ambitions and calling Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “unbearable.”

      “Mr. Liberman is unbearable for me as a member of the Israeli government,” Darabos said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse

      He continued to state that an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities would be “superfluous,” claiming that “Iran is not yet able to build a [nuclear] bomb” and that “Israel’s threats are therefore dispensable.”

      “An Israeli attack on Iran would set the region ablaze in a way that could not be contained,” he said, adding that a preemptive military strike would only serve to foster sympathies for the Islamic regime in the Arab world and within the international community.

      In response to a question posed by the interviewer regarding the minister’s feelings regarding the Israeli government, Darabos responded by asserting that he is pleased that Kadima joined the Israeli coalition. “That could soften the radicalization,” he said. “Altogether, I have difficulties agreeing with Israeli policies.”

      He continued to claim that, “Israel apparently points to external enemies like Iran or the Palestinians to deflect from internal social problems.”

      Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strained since Austria voted in favor of a United Nations Human Rights Council decision in March to establish a fact-finding mission to probe the effects of Israeli “settlements” on “Palestinian” human rights. Austria was one of two EU states that voted in favor of the investigation; six other EU countries abstained on the measure.