In an interview with Al-Quds newspaper, Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed that the next war in Gaza will be the last.
The interview itself has been the subject of criticism, with some Palestinians saying the newspaper should not have granted Lieberman a platform for his views.
Lieberman claimed that “we do not have any intentions to start a war with our neighbors in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Lebanon and Syria”. He added, however, that, “the intentions in the Gaza Strip, is, like the Iranians, to eliminate the state of Israel.”
Israel's Next Gaza War Will Be Last As 'We Will Destroy Them': Minister: Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman s… https://t.co/SWOdBJvBsm
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He continued: “Even if we do not have the intention to initiate a new conflict with them [in the Gaza Strip], if they engage in a new war on Israel, it will be the final war for them. I want to reiterate that it will be the final war for them because we will completely destroy them.”
Lieberman affirmed that he has “adopted the two-state solution and I personally support this solution”, but that “the problem lies in the…Palestinian leadership.” Elaborating on what he means by a two-state solution, Lieberman said he “believe[s] that the right principle is not land for peace; I prefer the exchange of land and inhabitants.”
Specifically, Lieberman declared that major illegal settlements such as “Ma’ale Adumim, Giv’at Ze’ev, Gush Etzion, and Ariel” will be “part of Israel” in “any sort of solution”.
Retweeted Irish in Gaza (@Irishingaza):
Israel bombs Gaza as Lieberman says next war 'will be the last'… https://t.co/BCUaqB0fdX
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Lieberman, himself a West Bank settler, told the paper: “I have many Palestinian neighbors and I talk to ordinary people, such as farmers, and not with the political leadership.”
He continued: “Over the past four months, I met with a number of Palestinians, especially businessmen, and they were enjoyable meetings. I would ask them about the biggest hindrance to developing their economy, and they openly told me that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and those around him are the biggest hindrance to their economy.”
Referring back to talks between Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert, Lieberman said that “the Palestinian leadership wasted the opportunity and it is impossible for us to offer more than what Olmert offered in Annapolis.”
— Marian Houk (@Marianhouk) September 29, 2016
Addressing regional developments, Lieberman declared “we do not have any requests or demands from our neighbors. We gave Sinai to Egypt, we have a peace treaty with Jordan, and we have diplomatic relations with Lebanon, and we do not have any demands.”
He added: “The Arab Spring or Arab Winter has completely changed the situation in the Arab world, and we did not have anything to do with this. 99 percent of all the victims and bloodshed is occurring among the Muslims themselves, and not with the Israelis.”