A Conversation With Avigdor Lieberman
Interview by Lally Weymouth
Sunday, March 1, 2009; B01
...One of the reasons you are so popular is because you called for a loyalty oath for all citizens of Israel. What do you mean by a loyalty oath?
The dividing line for Yisrael Beiteinu is who supports terror and who fights terror. We cannot accept that there are people in Israel that even during the war [in Gaza] openly supported Hamas...We don't have a proposal to kick people out of the country. But I think the country must demand from the citizens real responsibility. It's a crazy thing in Israel that a minister doesn't agree to our anthem. I can't imagine it.
Do you agree with President Bush that there should be a two-state solution?
It was a big dispute between Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon and me before disengagement [in 2005]. I said you go to establish a Palestinian state without even one Jew, we will become a binational state with more than twenty per cent minority. It won't work. . . . It is really a state and a half for the Palestinians and a half-state for the Israelis. . . .
Our proposal was exchanging territory and population, exactly like the Cyprus model.
You would take the territory where the Jews live in settlements on the West Bank and Israeli Arabs live and swap them?
Of course. Here is a picture of my settlement behind you, Nokdim, in the Judean Desert. I even agree to vacate my settlement if there really will be a two-state solution. What does the leader of the Israeli Arabs say? They're not interested in any Palestinian state. Even the Palestinians aren't interested in a Palestinian state.
You think they want all of Israel?
They want one country from the Jordan River to the sea. [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak gave a very crazy proposal to go back to the 1967 borders. [Yasir] Arafat said no. Also, Sharon gave up all of the Gaza Strip. And at [the] Annapolis [peace conference in 2007], a left-wing government gave very strange and crazy proposals. Even so, the Palestinians didn't accept. Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert tried to jump from the first stage [of the roadmap] to the final stage. It didn't work, it's impossible.
Would you give up the Golan Heights to make a deal with Syria?
I don't see why we must give up the Golan Heights. Damascus is the center of world terror. All these organizations, Jihad and Hamas, their headquarters are in Damascus. Syria supports Hezbollah.
But there are people in your military who argue that if Israel could make a deal with Syria, perhaps you could split them off from Iran.
No, we cannot split them off. Even [Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad says that even if he receives the Golan Heights, he will continue his ties with Iran. People don't want to see the truth.
So is your next ambition to become prime minister?
No, my personal ambition is to realize all our ideas. Yisrael Beiteinu is a party that puts on the table all the problems that people are afraid to speak about.
But people in the United States think you are a racist. What do you say to those people?
I think they don't understand our reality. We say the left wing in Israel and the United States is in shock that we were so successful.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Words of Avigdor Lieberman
From the interview with Avigdor Lieberman: