Liberman at INSS conference
Liberman at INSS conference Ariel Harmoni/ Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke this evening (Tuesday) at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) from Tel Aviv.

In his speech, Lieberman explained that he does not believe that it is possible to reach a settlement with the Palestinian Authority in a bilateral agreement, but that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict can only be reached through a regional agreement. He said that the framework for negotiations should not be 'land for peace,' but should be an exchange of territory and populations.

"Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) is an illegitimate leader. The PA does not exist." Liberman said when asked about the current deadlock in peace negotiations.

"Hamas-stan is in the Gaza Strip, and in Judea and Samaria you find Fatah." Liberman said. "Who will sign an agreement? I do not believe that it is possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians without a comprehensive regional settlement with the moderate Sunni world."

The Defense Minister stressed that he does not intend to expel Jews or Arabs from their homes. "Israel will not transfer any resident from his home. It will only change the [location of] the borders."

He added that Israel must fight the next conflict with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah "with all its power" until "the other side raises the white flag."

Liberman criticized his predecessor as the Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, for his handling of the trial of Elor Azariya. "It cannot be that the Defense Minister will...discuss operational secrets [pertaining to an ongoing criminal investigation], when [his words] have no legal standing and are only used for the political debate."

"This is an outstanding soldier," he added. "This is a soldier who was in the field every day for a year fighting terrorism. There are occasional mistakes. When thousands of 18 year old soldiers are fighting daily against terrorism it won't be that 100% of the decisions made are correct, and when they make mistakes we need to back them up."