'I'm not concerned about a Palestinian state'

Defense Minister Liberman says he's not worried about a Palestinian state, slams Iran deal as 'biggest mistake in modern diplomacy.'

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Chana Roberts,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisreal Beytenu) spoke on Wednesday about the two-state solution, the Iran deal, and convicted IDF soldier Elor Azariya.

"We especially appreciate all American efforts to bring a solution between us and the Palestinians," Liberman said. "But with all due respect, the United States and their investments and efforts are not an alternative for direct talks between us and Palestinians. I believe that a strategic breakthrough is possible to achieve [sic] only in direct meetings and talks between [the] two sides."

"Everybody who speaks today about a final status agreement - I think he doesn't understand reality and he's illusionist. What we can achieve is a long-term interim agreement, not more. What is crucial is not only security, it's first of all to stop the incitement and the second, to upgrade the Palestinian economy. I don't believe in democracy, I don't believe in peaceful policy... I think it will be possible to achieve peace with the Palestinians when their GDP is $20,000.

"My concern is not a Palestinian state but a Jewish state. For me it's completely unacceptable that they will establish a homogenic [sic] Palestinian state even without one Jew, and we will be come a bi-national state with more than 20% Palestinians. I think we have a right to a Jewish national state, not a bi-national state. In this case, my idea of course is to use land and population swaps to create two national states."

Liberman also said that in order to "stop violence in the Middle East" we must stop Iran's "aggressions [sic] and their nuclear ambitions."

"Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad - they're not able to exist without Iran," he explained. "They (Iran - ed.) deliver everything - instructions, funding, advisers, everything.... I think it's crucial to stop this regime."

Regarding the "Iran deal," Liberman said that "of course" he thinks it's "a very bad deal."

"It's the biggest mistake in modern relations, in modern diplomacy," he emphasized. "We're sorry about this nuclear deal."

When asked about his opinion on the investigations of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Liberman said, "I don't see any reason to resign from [the position of] Prime Minister before the verdict of our Supreme Court. I think it's a long way and we have enough time, and I don't see today any reason for him to resign."

"For a prime minister to resign, it's like a political revolution...it's to topple a government, to topple a coalition. It's new elections... The consequences of this kind of decision...are very complicated consequences, and I think we should take time to wait for court verdicts."

Netanyahu is currently being investigated for allegedly receiving illegal gifts from billionaire friends, including large amounts of cigars and champagne - despite the fact that Netanyahu does not smoke.

He is also suspected of meeting Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes to strike a deal. The deal would allegedy have seen Netanyahu advance legislation to close down the Sheldon Adelson-owned Israel Hayom freebie, in return for more favorable coverage from Yediot Aharonot.

However, any indictment on the meetings would place a good many journalists and MKs, who have had their own secret meetings, in trouble.

"Of course," Liberman said, the current coalition will sit out its term, and will not hold early elections.

"I don't see who really wants earlier elections in the current coalition. And if I remember, the next elections are the fifth of November 2019. We have enough time, almost two years."

Regarding convicted IDF soldier Elor Azariya, Liberman hinted his belief that Azariya should be released.

"I'm sorry about...the decision, because it's really a very bad story for our society, for our army, for our soldiers," he said. "At the end of the day it's crucial to remember that Elor Azariya was a...soldier and the other side was a terrorist who came to kill our soldiers."

"I think that Elor Azariya himself, his family, they paid a very very heavy price. And I think that enough is enough, I think it's time for us to start a new page."

Elor Azariya was convicted of manslaughter in January for shooting a wounded terrorist he suspected of having an explosive vest.

In February, Azariya was sentenced to 18 months in prison, though on appeal, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot slashed four months from the sentence. Last month, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin rejected Azariya's request for pardon.








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