Israeli Defense Minister: A Palestinian State Doesn't Interest Me

Day after Trump voices support for two-state solution, Lieberman says he's 'only interested in the Jewish state'

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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Lieberman at Quneitra border crossing, September 27 2018
Lieberman at Quneitra border crossing, September 27 2018Credit: Gil Eliahu
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday said he was unconcerned with remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that signaled openness to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

"The Palestinian state simply does not interest me," Lieberman said. "I am interested in the Jewish state, and there are many problems here that are more acute than just slogans. The fact that in Israel there is a 20-percent Arab population that goes out time and again to demonstrations and protests with Palestinian flags and not with Israeli flags – I have a problem [with that]. That's the main problem."

Speaking with reporters at the Quneitra border crossing in the Golan Heights, Lieberman also called Syrian President Bashar Assad a "war criminal" who is "not our friend," but he added that it's "not our business."

"We said from the beginning that we have no interest in meddling in the civil war within Syria and we have never intervened," Lieberman said. "What interests us in ensuring the security of Israel's citizens."

>> The two words Netanyahu is afraid to repeat out loud | Analysis ■ Whatever his intentions, Trump's endorsement of two-state solution changes reality | Analysis ■ Netanyahu backs future Palestinian state, reigniting the leftist's dilemma | Analysis

The defense minister went on to reiterate Israel's position that Syria bore full responsibility for the recent downing of a Russian military aircraft in the Latakia area, adding that security coordination between Israel and Russia in Syria has continued.

Lieberman said early this month that he has no hope of reaching a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians, and that Israel must act unilaterally.

Speaking at an Israel Television News Company event, Lieberman said that "all negotiations have led us to a dead end" and that Israel must "take responsibility and shape its policy on its own."

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