Israel's FM Tells Canadians: Palestinians Not Ready for Statehood

In West Coast leg of a three-day tour to Canada, Avigdor Lieberman says a Palestinian state would resemble Arab countries currently experiencing tumultuous changes and lack of security.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - On the eve of the historic United Nations session on the declaration of a Palestinian state, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said the Palestinians are not ready to establish their own country. "I recommend that they wait until we see there is a single security apparatus and not small armed groups," he said.

If a Palestinian state is established, its future will be the same as those Muslim states now experiencing internal revolutions, said Lieberman. "The situation in the countries of the Arab world surrounding Israel is even worse than before. In Tunisia, Egypt and Syria there is no economy, no tourism and no security. This is what will also happen with the Palestinians."

Lieberman - Fattal - July 20, 2011
Michal Fattal

The foreign minister made the comments yesterday as he completed a three-day visit to Canada, which he concluded in Vancouver with a visit to the city's Russian-Jewish community.

The Palestinian Authority is not stable economically, has no middle class, there are large numbers of poor and about 10% are rich - and it lacks political stability, said Lieberman. A single Palestinian entity is only virtual, he said. "The PA is divided between Hamasstan in Gaza and Fatah in Judea and Samaria. When we come to Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] over complaints on the continued firing from Gaza, he says he is not in control there, he is not the ruler and does not represent them. But when he goes to the United Nations he says he represents all the Palestinians."

Lieberman said he hopes Israel will have enough courage to change how it deals with the firing from Gaza. "There is no other country in the world that displays patience like Israel does," he said.

As to where Israel will draw the line, Lieberman said, "Israel will not give up anything. In order to build political relationships, you need proper economics and security. Security and economics are a function of democracy. Democracy and Islam are two contradictory things."

A few dozen people, Israelis and Canadians, demonstrated against Lieberman outside the hall where he spoke.