Former Defense Minister and Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday morning toured the illegal Arab village of Khan Al-Ahmar and told a Kipa reporter that when he was the defense minister, he received a written directive from Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop the evacuation of the village (ליברמן בחאן אל אחמר: “קיבלתי הנחיה כתובה מנתניהו לעצור את פינוי הכפר”). He said the army was ready to deploy around the village and move the illegal squatters out, but Netanyahu halted the move.
Lieberman said on the tour that “today we were supposed to celebrate the application of sovereignty to the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. We are gathered here, against the background of Khan al-Ahmar, and I will explain why: between October 20 and 21, 2018, the illegal Palestinian settlement was to be evacuated. The army was prepared, deployed, evacuation orders were distributed, everything was ready for the operation of evacuating Khan al-Ahmar.”
“Why didn’t it happen? Because on October 19, at noon, I received a written directive from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the evacuation,” Liberman said. “The explanation was that if we evacuate Khan al-Ahmar, then the International Criminal Court in the Hague would decide to launch an investigation against Israel. So we did not evacuate Khan al-Ahmar and meanwhile the ICC decided to launch an investigation anyway.”
“As always, unfortunately, we ate the stinking fish and they also expelled us from the village – literally,” he said.
“I said before the election, ‘Netanyahu is conning everyone, he has no intention of applying sovereignty.’ We knew in advance that this man can finagle all of us. He invented a cosmic trick – how to swindle everyone all the time. I’ve had some experience with him before,” Liberman told Kipa.
Liberman first connected with Netanyahu in 1988, when the latter concluded his assignment as Israel’s UN envoy and ran for a Knesset seat on the Likud slate. Liberman accompanied Netanyahu for the next ten years. Following Netanyahu’s election to the Likud chairmanship in the 1993 primaries, Liberman was appointed CEO of the Likud party. In 1996, after Netanyahu’s election to Prime Minister, Liberman was appointed his chief of staff. Then, in December 1997, Liberman resigned. He told his close circle that Netanyahu had been calling him an “electoral millstone” behind his back. In January 1999 he established Israel Beiteinu, which in 2012 entered a united slate with Likud – which lasted until 2014. Since then, Liberman served in every Netanyahu-led coalition government, until after the April 2019 election, when Liberman announced he would not join a government headed by Netanyahu. He stuck with this decision through three election campaigns in the span of one year and is now in the opposition.
Needless to say, Avigdor Liberman is not a fan of Benjamin Netanyahu.
“For months the Prime Minister is yelling and talking about applying the sovereignty,” Liberman continued. “What turns out is that this whole move is not a move to apply sovereignty, it’s just a PR move. An electoral theft, nothing else.”
He explains: “The army is not a partner in this plan, the chief of staff is not a partner, the Shin Bet head is not a partner, the commander of the Judea and Samaria IDF division is not a partner. Those people who are supposed to apply the sovereignty do not share either in drawing the map nor in forging the concept of how it should be implemented.”
“That’s why I said from the start, even before the last election: there is no chance Netanyahu will apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. Even then we knew and received messages that there was no intention of applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. Everything turned out as I said – this is a PR move, an electoral move, a completely empty move.”
“This is what there is,” Liberman said.