Sunday, November 19, 2006

Israel Must Retake Control Of Gaza-Egypt Border

Minister for Strategic Threats Avigdor Lieberman called for Israel to retake control over the Rafah crossing and the Philadelphi Route, on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Speaking to Israel Radio, Lieberman said that Israel need not reoccupy the Strip, which it evacuated in the summer of last year, but must take control over the area from which "the fuel that drives terrorism arrives." Speaking to Israel Radio, Lieberman said he believes the Palestinians are not interested in setting up their own state, but rather in destroying Israel. He said Israel must abandon past interim peace deals, known as the Oslo accords, and the road map. "A continuation of Oslo, of the road map ... will lead us to another round of conflict, a much more bloody round, and in the end to an even deeper deadlock, and it threatens our future," he said. He dismissed Abbas, elected chairman in 2005, as an ineffective leader who should be ignored, and said Israel must get tougher with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups, particularly their leaders.
Avigdor Lieberman
"They ... have to disappear, to go to paradise, all of them, and there can't be any compromise," he said. "His comments are his own. They don't reflect Israeli policy," Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said of Lieberman. Lieberman told Israel Radio that diplomatic and security initiatives put forward by Vice Premier Shimon Peres and the Defense Ministry are senseless. "There is no point in new peace initiatives, and those who initiate them are irresponsible and unwise," he said. According to Lieberman, the Palestinians do not truly desire a country, but instead "work in the service of international Jihad," and called for Israel to target the upper echelons of Hamas. "There is no point in striking refugee camps and Palestinians who have nothing to lose," Lieberman said. "Instead, we should strike the entire Hamas leadership roaming free in Gaza." He said "Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] should be handled in cooperation with Jordan, and Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] should be ignored as he is not relevant, hated and lacking any authority in the territories."Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Beilin called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to dismiss Lieberman: "If he doesn't do this, Olmert will carry the responsibility for all of Lieberman's crazy statements, and he won't be able to shake himself from them time after time." "Lieberman's statements that Abbas must be ignored, that the Philadelphi Route must be conquered and that Palestinian Knesset Members must be killed become the statements of the entire government as long as Lieberman holds a senior position in it," he added. Lieberman added, by contrast, that among the Palestinians there are some interested in improving their situation, and that these are the people with whom Israel should negotiate. Olmert forged an alliance with the far-right lawmaker, one of Israel's most divisive politicians, last month to shore up his shaky coalition. Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, a top Abbas aide, said Lieberman is stuck in the past and called his ideas "a recipe for the continuation of bloodshed, violence, extremism and hatred between the two sides."