Photo Credit: Hagai Frid Courtesy IDC Herzliya
Defense Minister Avigdor Librman addressing the 17th Herzliyah Conference at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya.

Defense Minister Avigdor Librman on Thursday addressed the electricity crisis in Gaza, saying, “The electricity crisis is an internal Palestinian crisis which we need not forcibly enter – Mahmoud Abbas did not do this step as a one-time measure, his intent to continue in the future to cut the monies for fuel and medicines make sense. In my opinion this is a duel strategy – to attack Hamas and also to drag Hamas into a conflict with Israel, otherwise it is not clear to me why he didn’t coordinate this with us or with the Egyptians. I conclude that he said he would try to subdue Hamas, but in fact he is trying to drag us into a conflict with the Gaza Strip.”

Liberman addressed the 17th Herzliyah Conference at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya. According to him, “From the moment I took on the position of Defense Minister, I am following a clear strategy, but I can’t speak about a strategy for Gaza , even in the Cabinet, because after one minute I’ll see all of this in the media.”


Regarding the situation in Syria, Liberman said: “Unfortunately what is happening today in Syria is that Hezbollah is exploiting the situation to smuggle advance weapons systems from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon and to fortify its presence in southern Lebanon on the Israeli border. I warned the Syrian regime that it was encouraging Hezbollah and the Iranians to use Syrian soil as a base and that it will be held accountable for these developments. We are a country with responsible leadership. At the moment there are intense negotiations between the US and Russia on the buffer zone, I hope that they will reach an arrangement. This however wouldn’t prevent us from freedom of activity to defend Israeli interests.”

About the Palestinian issue he said that “there shouldn’t be illusions, even when we get to the end of the conflict, the problems won’t be solved, but to the contrary. We won’t agree to even a single refugee returning to the 1967 borders. The priorities need to be changed. Before a political arrangement with the Palestinians, the single matter that is possible is a regional arrangement, not one under the table, but on the table. I’ve seen interesting research which this type of arrangement will increase Israel’s annual revenue but 45 billion dollars. The reason that we haven’t got into a regional arrangement until now is because since 1967 we haven’t won a clear-cut victory. In this regard, “We left the Gaza Strip and we said that if terrorism would emanate from there we would obliterate them; there were more than few promises including mine, which weren’t backed up.”

On the issue of Israeli Arabs he said, “I meet more than a few Arab citizens of Israel and they are very loyal and logical. They’ve internalized that for them there’s no place better than the State of Israel. Today I see immigration from Arab countries and the one place that they don’t want to leave is the State of Israel. There is no place on earth which they receive such freedom of religion and expression, despite our and their self-criticism which is justified. There is no better place for them despite all of that. I propose that we are not captives to facts: when the Joint List Party refuses to sign a ‘surplus vote sharing agreement’ with Meretz because it’s a Zionist party, that speaks for itself. When Ayman Odeh doesn’t go to the funeral of Shimon Peres, but goes to a memorial for Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, that speaks for itself. When the entire Joint List Party condemns the Arab League for relisting Hezbollah as a terrorist organization that speaks for itself.”


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