Lieberman: Mideast Uprisings Show the Arab World Is Weakening

Lieberman denied claim that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a reason for the unrest of late in the Arab world, blaming it instead on internal unrest.

Israel's foreign minister said on Monday that the root of the uprisings seen in the Middle East today was a result of internal unrest, adding that the "Arab world is weakening."

"Whoever thinks that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is part of the problems in the Middle East is trying to escape reality," Avigdor Lieberman said in an event for European diplomats held at the Knesset on Monday.

Tomer Appelbaum

The foreign minister went on to say that the "big picture of the Middle East shows that major points of contention stem from challenges and confrontations within Islamic society."

"The Arab world is becoming increasingly weakened," Lieberman added.

Lieberman was speaking in reference to the unrest that has wracked the Arab world in the past few weeks, from the ousting of the government in Tunisia to the recent uprising in Egypt.

"At the end of the day, it is clear to everyone, even to the Palestinian Authority, that the greatest danger they are facing is not Zionism, but rather Hamas and Jihad," Lieberman said.

Many of the protesters in Egypt, and in the rest of the Arab world have condemned President Mubarak's and Egypt's peaceful relationship with Israel.

The foreign minister also spoke about Israel's settlement building in the West Bank, denying the often heard argument that they are an obstacle to peace.

He used the peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt as testimony that withdrawal from occupied territories is not necessarily a prerequisite for peace.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were suspended a month after they were launched in Washington, after the Palestinians boycotted talks over Israels refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement construction.