Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank is ‘avoiding talks’ with Tel Aviv, and is ‘not interested in genuine peace’.Following his meeting in New York with UN Secretary General, Lieberman said that the Palestinians are “focusing on Israel’s settlement activities that are only taking 1.5% of the West Bank”.
“Settlements are not an obstacle to peace”, he claimed, “The Palestinians just have no interest in peace, and are using this issue as an excuse”.
He further said that the Palestinians are ‘planning to quit direct talks with Tel Aviv once it releases the fourth phase of veteran political prisoners’, and claimed that the Palestinian leadership “is conducting a hostile stance against Israel in its smear campaign on the international arena”.
Lieberman, the founder and leader of the extreme right-wing “Israel Our Home” party, is a settler himself — a settler who was born in Kishinev in the former Soviet Union. He lives in the Nokdim illegal settlement in the West Bank.
Since starting his political career, after working as a bouncer at a nightclub in Tel Aviv, Lieberman became known for his extreme views against the Arabs, and repeatedly called for removing the Arabs from the occupied territories, and from historic Palestine, as he considers them a ‘strategic threat’.
His statements pointing to the Arabs and Palestinians as strategic threats to Israel (as a Jewish State) led him to the position of “Strategic Affairs” Minister in 2007 to 2008.
He also served as National Infrastructure Minister (2001-2002) and Transportation Minister (2001-2002).
In 2001, he pleaded guilty to assaulting a Palestinian child who allegedly hit his son. He was only ordered to pay compensation for the child.
In the 2009 Israeli elections, and this year, his party partnered with the Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and won 31 out of 120 Knesset seats.
He served as Israel’s Foreign Minister between March 2009 and December 2012, and left his post after facing an indictment for promoting an ambassador of his who provided information about a police investigation in Belarus, and for failing to report the actions of this ambassador.
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court acquitted him in November of this year, after the three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the prosecution failed to provide sufficient proof of the charges.
Israel’s illegitimate settlement activities on Palestinian lands, in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, are amongst the main obstacles to peace in the region.
Settlements are illegal under International law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory.