Lieberman - Fitoussi - Dec. 25, 2011
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaking during a conference for Israeli ambassadors in Jerusalem, December 25, 2011. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that he does not believe a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians will be agreed upon within the next decade.

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Speaking at a conference before Israeli ambassadors on Sunday, Lieberman said the Palestinians are not working toward peace but rather trying to determine the facts on the ground and internationalize the conflict. Therefore, Lieberman suggested, Israel must work to manage the conflict and not solve it.

"In the next decade, this will be the situation and we need to know how to deal with it in the best way possible for both sides," Lieberman argued. "No territorial concession will solve the real issues: refugees, security arrangements, and Jerusalem."

"The only change that would happen here if we return to 1967 borders would be that the Qassam and Grad rocket fire will not only come from the Gaza Strip into southern Israeli cities but also from Qalqilya into central Israel. "

Moreover, Lieberman also commented on the latest diplomatic faceoff between Israel and European countries, who harshly criticized the recent violence by rightist extremists and Israel's settlement activity. In return, Israel's Foreign Ministry called European countries "irrelevant."

Lieberman said Israel does not need to apologize to European countries for the comment. "We have nothing to apologize for," he said. "On the contrary – Israeli democracy has nothing to be ashamed of in contrast to the European democracies, and we do not need any advice from them.

"The countries who criticized us need to understand that construction in the West Bank is not an obstacle to peace and those who pose an obstacle to negotiations, and the opportunity for peace, are the Palestinians who refuse to negotiate with us."

Read this article in Hebrew