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“Israel will not accept Palestinian unilateral moves”

Published on: December 13, 2012

At a Channuka candle lighting ceremony on 11.12  FM Liberman, MK David Rotem and party candidate Shimon Ohayon addressed the audience.

Below is a translation of Foreign Minister Liberman’s speech


It is only fitting that we begin by recognizing the Channuka miracles around us.  So far, we are having a rainy winter that will do our water supplies a power of good. Secondly and just as important are our congratulations to the Minister of Education and the Prime Minister on the achievements of Israeli students on international tests in science and mathematics. This government boldly illustrates the difference between leaders who simply talk and do little and those who accomplish much.  We have seen some real changes for the better. We applaud the Minister of Education and the Prime Minister.

European Union Condemnation of Construction in Jerusalem and Maale Adumim

Yesterday we learned that the European Union condemned Israel for building in Jerusalem and Maale Adumim. German Foreign Minister Westerwelle showed me the initial draft of this decision.  He worked hard to make some changes to the final version. Nonetheless, it is not hard to overlook the injustice of this EU decision. On the one hand the EU condemns Israel for building in Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, on the other hand, it calls on Hamas to refrain from incitement against Israel. What is this incitement? It is a call to destroy Israel. This is what we heard when Hamas leader Mashaal visited Gaza. His call to wipe Israel off the map met with joyous applause.  More importantly, we saw Abu Mazen’s support for these remarks. How can we talk about Mahmoud Abbas as a partner for peace when his Fatah delegation from Ramallah sat on the same stage as Mashaal when he called for the destruction of Israel? We all heard Abu Mazen’s silence during Operation Pillar of Defense when Hamas rockets hit civilian centers in Israel.  Unlike our military operations, Hamas rockets are aimed not at military targets but at civilians.

Yet, the EU chooses to condemn Israeli plans to build in Jerusalem and Maale Adumim and remains silent about Hamas’s call for the end of the Jewish State.  I am not going to name the European foreign ministers who objected to the call to Hamas to stop incitement.  These ministers would have preferred to condemn Israel and completely ignore Hamas’s calls for Israel’s destruction. Some EU foreign ministers demanded that the EU statement not mention Hamas and its incitement.  I see these things and unfortunately they say a lot about how much we can really count on those countries.  These countries always talk about how much they understand our security needs and stand with us.  There’s a history here: the same countries that knew with certainty what was happening to Jews in the concentration camps, blocked Jewish immigration to Israel. Many of these same countries turn a blind eye today to incitement to destroy Israel.

The attitude of Israeli politicians Abbas

Even more troubling however, are those Israeli politicians who despite proof to contrary continue to repeat the same mantra: Abbas is a partner for peace. Let’s have a look at his speech at the most recent UN General Assembly.  There was no talk of peace.  Instead Abbas spoke about ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, land and natural resource theft against the Palestinians. And of course we continue to ignore these belligerent remarks. Where is the condemnation from Israel’s Left of Abbas’s speech?  Where is Meretz Chair Zehava Galon, Shelly Yechimovitch, Tzipi Livni? All I hear is condemnation of Israel’s government for not doing enough to promote the peace process and ignoring our partner for peace Abbas.  This is the same Abbas who was silent while rockets fell on population centers in Israel and Hamas called to destroy Israel and the same Mahmoud Abbas who accused the IDF, the world’s most moral army, of war crimes and ethnic cleansing. This is a stark illustration of the situation of Israeli politics today.  Do the politicians who condemn construction in Jerusalem and Maale Adumim not know that we have a broad consensus among Israelis that Jerusalem will forever be united?  What is the vision of these politicians of a future settlement? Let’s understand the picture.  From Jerusalem’s northernmost neighborhood of Neve Yaakov to the southernmost neighborhood of Gilo, we have a population of 415,000 Jews.  Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion have another 80,000 to 90,000 Jewish residents. We’re talking about half a million people. Does anybody really think that you can evacuate half a million people? Nonetheless, there are Israeli politicians who say that construction in Jerusalem and the settlement blocs somehow sabotages the political process.  This is both a grave and groundless accusation. This is not just me as an Israeli saying this.  If you look at the letter of President George W. Bush you will see that it makes clear that as part of any future peace agreement all of Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs will remain part of Israeli sovereignty. Why would any Israeli politician try to undermine that very broad consensus?  Do they have no red lines? Does their lust for power trump all?  And why is there no political process? I may well ask Livni and Olmert what went wrong in Annapolis. I was there and looked on in shock as Olmert offered to divide Jerusalem and open up the refugee issue. Abu Mazen refused this far-reaching proposal. Why did a ten month freeze on construction in the settlements yield nothing?

You may well ask the Jordanians what happened at that meeting in Amman under the patronage of the King of Jordan. Why did it end with no results? Representatives of Israel came with serious offers. If settlements are indeed an obstacle to peace, how is it that we have peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt?  How is it that the complete evacuation of Jewish settlements in Gaza did not lead to peace? Someone with a minimum of integrity, must see the facts for what they are: there is no political process because Abbas has no interest in a political process. Abbas sees no need to negotiate when there are plenty of people around the world who will always blame Israel for the lack of peace. Why negotiate when you can get upgraded status unilaterally, without giving anything in return. As Abbas himself says, “We’ll get everything without giving anything to the Jews.”

And of course Mahmoud Abbas takes into account what is happening in the Arab world.  He looks at the fate of Gaddafi, Mubarak, and Ben Allen in Tunisia and comes to the conclusion that it pays to join forces with the most extreme groups in the Arab world.  However, Israel is not prepared to accept unilateral steps by the Palestinian side, and anyone who thinks they will achieve concessions and gains this way is wrong.

Israel still pays advances to pay the salaries of those people working for the PA, which amount to around 700 million NIS.  Another 900 million NIS  we give the Palestinians in electricity and water.  This is going to change for the next four months.  In this period, instead of transferring money to the PA, we will use those funds to offset its debt to Israel for electricity and water. In the next four months the PA will not receive a cent. After this time, we will decide how we proceed.

‘Political isolation’

Another urban legend is, of course, Israel’s political isolation. In the past four years there have been many G to G sessions with Israel and other countries. So many senior political leaders have visited Israel.  I myself have visited many countries across the globe. There is no statistical basis for saying that Israel is politically isolated. We have ratified agreements with the EU that previous governments had been working on for years. This week the UN passed an Israeli initiative on entrepreneurship by a large majority, a very important initiative in the economic field.  This is the United Nations – a body that is not particularly friendly to us.  In the last UN vote, eight nations sided with Israel, among them the United States and Panama and the Czech Republic and Canada and Micronesia. In December 2001, when the prime minister was Ariel Sharon and the foreign minister Shimon Peres, there were only three countries that sided with Israel against a UN condemnation for settlement construction: United States, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. In 2007, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni managed to muster the support of four countries. This is important data that we must all bear in mind.


Our soldiers must be able to defend themselves and protect our citizens.  The recent events in Hebron in which during a routine patrol, IDF soldiers were ambushed by Palestinian police officers saw IDF soliders fleeing and hiding rather than defending themselves. It’s intolerable. The official guidelines for soldiers in the West Bank are unreasonable. Troops are in fear of police investigations should they use too much force.  Thus we find soldiers fleeing rather than fighting. I expect our soldiers to operate properly under every circumstance, using force only when necessary and having the support to do so. It is our job to put up enough of a deterrence to deter any would be terrorists from harming Israeli citizens. The choice should be clear: If you want peace, you will get peace. If you choose war, you will get war.

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