Lieberman: Outpost-legalization Bill Should Be Postponed Until Obama Leaves Office

Israel's minister of defense tells Saban Forum that Israel hopes that President-elect Donald Trump will play an active role in ending the war in Syria. 'We need an active America in the Middle East.'

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Washington D.C.
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Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressing the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. on Friday, December 3, 2016.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressing the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. on Friday, December 3, 2016.Credit: Saban Forum
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Addressing the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the vote on the outpost-legalization bill - scheduled to take place on Monday - should be postponed until President Barack Obama leaves office.

"The key to the future of the settlements is reaching understandings with the U.S. on this issue," Lieberman said. "It is better to postpone the vote on the outposts legalization bill until after January 20, when Obama leaves office."

>> Lieberman: Israel should reach deal with Trump to see U.S. recognize settlement blocs <<

The minister of defense said Israel hopes President-elect Donald Trump will play an active role in the Middle East. "The U.S. can't isolate itself," Lieberman said. "It's impossible." He added that Israel hopes that President Donald Trump will play an active role in ending the war in Syria. "We need an active America in the Middle East."

Lieberman outlined two conditions required for a deal in Syria: The ouster of Bashar Assad and that Iranians leave the country. "I am not sure it's possible," he said.

Lieberman said that promises to move the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem have been made in every U.S. election and that "We will wait and see what happens." He stressed that what was crucial for Israel was not just the relocation of the embassy but agreement with the new administration on all policies – Iran, Syria and the Palestinians.

"ISIS, Al-Qaida, Muslim Brotherhood - they are all the same. I don't see difference between Hezbollah and Hamas," he said.

"Iran and its proxies are the biggest threat to Israel today," he said, adding "the Iranians are trying to destabilize the entire Middle East. It's crucial to move forward with more sanctions."

"We need to be very very tough with Iran on all issues."

No partner

Turning to the issue of the Palestinians, Lieberman said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "has no real legitimacy to be the Palestinian leader. He keeps postponing the elections again and again." He added that "Abbas isn't a partner for a final status agreement. For now we need an interim agreement, and to wait for a future opportunity.

"We can solve the Palestinian issue just as part of a regional solution," Lieberman said. He added that "The Arab world only pays lip service to the Palestinian issue. They don't really care about it."

He went on to say that "Some points in the Arab peace initiative are positive but other points like right of return are impossible." He added that he hoped that "the Arab world will start talking to Israel without preconditions."

"Israel is the state for all Jews in the world. We are responsible also for the Jewish diaspora," he said.

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