Israeli FM: Settlements Not the Problem

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman does not believe Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are the crux of the problem between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"[The Palestinians] are claiming the settlements are obstructing peace, but why is Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria the obstacle for peace?" he asked.

"Were things different before [the] 1967 [Six Day War]? Back then, we didn't have settlements and we didn't have peace either. Things were exactly as they are now, with tension and terror," he said.

"Clearly Israel must maintain an advantage and the final goal is security and a situation of financial stability with the Palestinians," the foreign minister said.

Lieberman praised Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu for the "dignified way" he represented Israel in Washington and said that while Israel and the United States have their differences, they also share common goals, especially with regard to Iran.

"Ensuring Iran will not have non-conventional weapons and acknowledging it a destabilizing element in the Middle East, as well as the one [nation] involved in subversive acts in Egypt, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, this is a common desire," he said.

Lieberman noted that media coverage played down the positive aspects of the meeting between the two leaders.

"They agree on the goals, so the disagreements are tactical," he said.

Source: YNet news

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