Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos says the presence of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Israeli cabinet is “unbearable.”
In an interview with the Austrian daily Die Presse, Darabos severely criticized Israel’s policies, with a special emphasis on the continued settlement activities and the nuclear allegations against Iran.
An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would spark an uncontrollable fire in the region and will create solidarity and empathy for Iran in the Arab world members who are normally among Iran critics and the world at large, Darabos said.
The Austrian minister criticized Israel for “pointing a finger at its foreign enemies like Iran and the Palestinians in order to avoid dealing with internal social issues.”
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program. Washington and Tel Aviv have time and again threatened Tehran with the “option” of a military strike against its civilian nuclear facilities.
Iran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
“Honestly, the fact that minister Lieberman is a member of the Israeli government is unbearable,” Darabos said in an unprecedented criticism of an Israeli foreign minister by a European official, particularly a defense minister.
Despite his senior position in the cabinet, Lieberman is consciously left out of the talks involving Tel Aviv by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is rarely dispatched for negotiations with Arab leaders.
US President Barack Obama has also refused to meet Lieberman in the past three years.
The Soviet-born Israeli politician, who speaks with a strong Russian accent, plays an important role in bids to expand Tel Aviv’s relations with Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union.
Lieberman lives in the Israeli settlement of Nokdim, located in the Judean Desert of the West Bank where he has resided since 1988. The Israeli settlements have incurred the rage of Palestinians and the international community.
Since 13years ago, the Israeli police have filed a number of lawsuits against Lieberman, who has also been at loggerheads with the current and previous heads of the Tel Aviv intelligence agency, Mossad.
Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic, a prominent pro-Israeli publication, has described Lieberman as “neo-fascist … a certified gangster … the Israeli equivalent of Jorg Haider.”
During the 2009 campaign, Meretz, the left wing Zionist party in Israel, released an internal memo comparing Lieberman to “Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, Haider in Austria, and Zhirinovsky in Russia”
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