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Interview mit Avigdor Lieberman

Auf Englisch, aber sehr interessant.

Meine Frau stellt mir ab und zu Fragen und wenn ich dann auf eine Frage etwas genervt reagiere, sagt sie: „Ich frag‘ doch nur!“ Dann sag‘ ich: „Fragen sind auch Aussagen“. So wie das Interview des SPIEGEL beweist. Ich habe ein paar Anmerkungen zwischen die Zeilen geschrieben.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Foreign Minister, the week the Palestinians finally agreed to hold new peace negotiations, your government announced plans to build 1,600 more housing units in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. You have provoked not only the Palestinians, but also your most important ally. Why?
Lieberman: We didn’t provoke anybody. I hear all the condemnations of Israel regarding so-called East Jerusalem. In the same week 60 people were killed in Pakistan in terror attacks. In every country around us there is bloodshed and tension. But everybody prefers to criticize Israel. I am waiting for the day when the German Bundestag debates the violation of human rights in Saudi Arabia.

SPIEGEL: But we are speaking to the Israeli foreign minister, not the Saudi one.

Anstatt die richtige Einordnung von AL aufzugreifen, beharrt der SPIEGEL störrisch auf seinem Lieblingsthema: Israel.
Lieberman: To put all the blame on Israel is hypocrisy. We are the only democracy in the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict represent maybe 3 percent of all the conflicts in the region. Members of the United States Congress and US Senators tell us that, in their visits to the Gulf countries, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Jordan, their Arab counterparts only very briefly mention the Palestinians, and that it is pure lip service. Ninety-five percent of the time they warn about the Iranian threat.

SPIEGEL: But at the moment everybody is speaking about Israel. The US is blaming your government for undermining the peace process and cancelled a visit of its special envoy George Mitchell.

Und das gleiche nochmal. Wieder versucht AL das Geschehen in einen größeren Kontext zu stellen, aber wie ein Kleinkind, dass unbedingt seine Schokolade haben will, bleibt der SPIEGEL „am Ball“. Und wen der SPIEGEL mit „everybody“ meint, bleibt wohl das Geheimnis der beiden israelfixierten Journalisten.

Lieberman: Even between the best of friends mistakes and misunderstandings can happen. We never promised to stop building in Jerusalem. But the announcement during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden was a mistake — a bureaucratic mistake of the building committee in charge.

SPIEGEL: So you are only criticizing the timing but not the plan to expand existing settlements?
Lieberman: You must understand: It is not settlements. Sixty-five percent of the Jewish population of Jerusalem live in new neighborhoods that we started to build after the Six-Day War in 1967.

SPIEGEL: Even the Americans regard them as settlements. They lie beyond the ’67 borders and that is a problem.
Lieberman: They lie beyond the ’67 borders, but they are not small villages, but municipal neighbourhoods with tens of thousands of residents.

SPIEGEL: So your problem is even bigger!

Ha, erwischt! Man kann sich regelrecht vorstellen, wie den beiden das Herz höher schlägt. Hier interviewt nicht ein neutraler Journalist, sondern ideologisch-politisch-vorbelastete Gutmenschen. Natürlich durfte daher im kleinen (hier nicht aufgenommenen) Vortext des Interviews auch nicht der Hinweis fehlen, dass AL früher Rausschmeißer in einem Club war. Mehr als zur Diskreditierung dient dieser Hinweis nicht.
Lieberman: It’s not a problem, it’s an integral part of our capital. We are not ready to negotiate about Jerusalem.

SPIEGEL: On the one hand you are criticizing the Palestinians for setting pre-conditions, on the other hand you yourself refuse to talk about such a controversial core issue like Jerusalem.
Lieberman: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech at Bar-Ilan University, in which he recognized for the first time the two-state solution. That was a difficult decision for us; don’t forget, this is a right-wing government. Secondly, we diminished the number of roadblocks and improved the access and movement for the Palestinians. By doing so, we created economic growth in the Palestinian cities of 8 percent. Thirdly, we undertook a moratorium in the settlements …

SPIEGEL:
… to which you don’t adhere: Just recently, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has given permission for 112 new apartments in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit.
Lieberman: Within one year we made many concessions in advance, but despite that the whole world says: „OK, that’s good, but you must deliver more.“

SPIEGEL: The US is now demanding further gestures from Israel following the crisis over the Jerusalem settlements. Will you deliver?
Lieberman:
Within one year we have made many gestures towards the Palestinians. We expect the Americans to put pressure on the Palestinians to stop anti-Israeli activities in the international arena. The Palestinians have to withdraw their law suits against Israeli officers, stop the boycott of Israeli goods and all incitement. What incentives do we have for agreeing to further compromises?

SPIEGEL: Does the prospect of signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians mean nothing?

Hier wird die Frage zur Aussage. Denn alle vorher germachten Aussagen der israelischen Regierung werden hier mal einfach unter den Tisch gekehrt.
Lieberman: First of all we want security. The international community is making a strategic mistake. You cannot impose peace. First you have to provide security and prosperity, then you can bring about a comprehensive solution.

SPIEGEL: So in your view the negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are useless?

Und wieder so eine Negativ-Unterstellung. Wahrscheinlich hoffen die beiden SPIEGEL-Inquisitoren auf einen Ausrutscher durch Provokation.
Lieberman: No. We have to keep the political process alive. Talks are better than nothing. The problem is that we don’t know whom Abbas represents. His Fatah party lost the elections in 2006. In 2007, Hamas took over power by force in the Gaza Strip.

SPIEGEL: Nineteen years after the peace process started in Madrid with indirect talks, you are again leading „proximity talks.“ US Special Envoy Mitchell wants to commute the five kilometers between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Why does this have to be so complicated?

ALs Ausführungen werden ignoriert. Die könnten ja bei näherer Betrachtung belegen, dass nicht nur Israel das Problem ist.
Lieberman: We were for direct talks from the beginning, whether in Jerusalem or Ramallah. It is the Palestinians who object to it. And they feel strengthened because the West constantly speaks about the settlements.

SPIEGEL: Do you think the Americans are naïve?
Lieberman:
I don’t know whether they are naïve. I believe in facts, and they are: Despite the settlements, we signed two peace agreements — one with Egypt and one with Jordan. And although both Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert were ready to evacuate most of the settlements and withdraw to the ’67 border, the Palestinians refused to sign. With the Oslo agreements we gave up half of the West Bank …

SPIEGEL: … It wasn’t you, but rather the leftist government of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Das ist schon kackfrech. Sie interviewen den Außenminister Israels, der völlig nachvollziehbar „Israel“ meint, wenn er „wir“ sagt und damit ist seine Aussage völlig richtig. Aber die beiden linkslastigen Journalisten müssen natürlich betonen, dass es eine linksgerichtete Regierung war, um damit auszusagen, das eine rechtsgerichtete und damit auch die augenblickliche dazu nicht in der Lage gewesen wären.
Lieberman: Yes, I was against it and I am sorry to say that I was right. For 16 years we made concessions, but the Palestinians have only rejected them. And this despite the fact that on the Israeli side there were all these nice guys: Rabin, Peres, Barak, Olmert, Sharon. Not such bad guys like me …

SPIEGEL: Sharon, a nice guy?
Lieberman: He vacated the settlements in the Gaza Strip.

SPIEGEL: Why do you need the settlements at all?

ALs Ironie wird völlig ignoriert, passt nicht zum Sinn des Interviews. Und jetzt die Frage aller Fragen: Warum gebt ihr nicht alles weg, was ihr habt, dann wäre endlich Frieden. Nicht weit weg von: Wenn es keine Juden mehr gäbe, dann …
Lieberman: First of all, Judea and Samaria are the birthplace of our nation since the days of the Bible. But the settlements are also important for our security.

SPIEGEL: The settlements? Do they not actually endanger your security?
Lieberman: No, the settlements around Jerusalem, for example, serve like a fence for us.

SPIEGEL: But you have already built a wall that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Lieberman: The settlements are like a second security ring, we need them. But we are ready to negotiate about parts of them.

SPIEGEL: You live in a settlement yourself: Nokdim, south of Bethlehem.
Lieberman: And I said I am ready to give it up. But I have to be sure that there is a partner on the other side who is able to deliver. From our experience there is no partner and no results

SPIEGEL: Perhaps Israel has simply not offered enough?

AL spricht über das fehlende Gegenüber, mit dem man vernünftige Verhandlungsergebnisse erzielen könnte und die beiden SPONler fragen in typischer Appeasement-Manier: Müsst ihr nicht noch mehr geben? Immer noch mehr?
Lieberman: There is a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of this conflict. It started as a national conflict between two people over one piece of land. But it developed into a religious conflict. It is a clash of civilizations which you cannot solve with a territorial compromise.

SPIEGEL: Israel’s motives are also partly religious, recently your government declared the tomb of the biblical patriarch Abraham in Hebron a „Zionist heritage“. However, it is also a holy site for Muslims.

Man möchte eigentlich nur noch die Hände über’m Kopf zusammenschlagen – bei so viel Unverständnis. Oder bei so viel Unterstellung. Israel hat die Stätten für sich als wichtig deklariert. Müssen wir uns jetzt auch Sorgen machen, wenn die UNESCO etwas zum Weltkulturerbe erklärt??
Lieberman: Hebron was the first Jewish city, King David started our nation from there. We have not altered the status quo of the tomb of Abraham, Muslims have free access to the mosque. This kind of tolerance does not exist on the Muslim side. Last week Hamas called for a „day of rage,“ because we opened the Hurva synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, which was destroyed in 1948.

SPIEGEL: So what is your solution?

Wieder werden ALs Ausführungen völlig ignoriert. Gehören nicht zum Plan.
Lieberman: I do not see a solution at the moment. We should concentrate on managing the conflict. Do you see a solution in Afghanistan? In Iraq?

SPIEGEL: In Afghanistan less, in Iraq more.
Lieberman:
If the West failed in so many parts of the world, you cannot expect that the conflict in our corner, of all things, is solvable. You cannot stop an Islamist tsunami by building a small island somewhere in the ocean. The biggest problem is the aggressive influence of Iran.

SPIEGEL: The United Nations Security Council is currently debating new punitive measures against Iran. China and Russia have already announced that they oppose „crippling sanctions“. Without them, is it still possible to prevent Iran from building the nuclear bomb?
Lieberman:
The problem is not only Russia or China, but also India, Turkey and others. But it would be enough to have tough sanctions from the West like the EU and the US and also Japan, Australia and Canada. That would suffocate the Iranian nuclear program.

SPIEGEL: Is Germany doing enough in your view?
Lieberman:
Germany is playing a very positive role. During my last visit, I felt for the first time that the German government understands that tough sanctions are necessary. But I am afraid that disagreements and a lack of political will within the international community could prevent real sanctions.

SPIEGEL: Will there be a military strike then?
Lieberman: I don’t think that Israel should take responsibility for this issue. But we are not taking any options of the table.

SPIEGEL: What is the bigger danger for Israel: a nuclear Iran or Teheran’s support for Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah?
Lieberman: The biggest danger is the indecisiveness of the international community. Iran is threatening the whole world. It is not coincidental that they do not celebrate an „Independence Day,“ but the „Day of the Islamic Revolution.“ Revolutionaries always try to export their revolution, that was the case with the Bolsheviks and also with Che Guevara. Therefore, we see Iranian activities in the whole world: in Africa, in South America and of course in the Middle East: with Hamas, Hezbollah or Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq. They are all proxies of Iran.

SPIEGEL: And that’s why Hamas weapons dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh had to be killed by the Mossad in Dubai?

Auch hier wird die Frage zur Aussage: Es ist nicht erwiesen, dass der Mossad das getan hat. Es wurde oft genug in den Medien darüber spekuliert, so dass die halbe Welt das glaubt. Aber SPIEGEL-LESER wissen eben mehr.
Lieberman: You must have seen too many James Bond movies. I also saw the video of the Dubai police on TV, but there are is no proof whatsoever.

SPIEGEL: All the evidence points to Israel: The agents used identities of Jews who immigrated to Israel from Britain and Australia.
Lieberman: We are cooperating with Britain and Australia in the investigations. They sent police inspectors to Israel.

SPIEGEL: So you are saying it was not the Mossad?
Lieberman: We are fighting the terror every day. We try, despite everything, to remain a democracy with clear rules. I expect more understanding about our problems in the world.

SPIEGEL: One of the alleged killers used a German passport which he received on the claim that his parents were Holocaust survivors. The German Federal Prosecutor opened an investigation on charges of murder and spy activity. Will Israel answer a German request for help in this investigation positively?
Lieberman: We will assist as much as we can. We have very close cooperation between Germany and Israel, on all levels.

SPIEGEL: There is irritation within the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, because Israel killed a Hamas guy while the BND was negotiating on Israel’s request with Hamas over the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

Die Irritation ist seitens des SPIEGELS, da sie wieder unterstellen, dass es der Mossad war, anstatt die Untersuchungen abzuwarten.
Lieberman: We appreciate all your efforts in the case of Gilad Shalit.

SPIEGEL: Within the BND it is said that the Israeli governent backtracked from an agreed prisoner exchange at the last minute.
Lieberman: I am not commenting on that. We will do everything we can to close this highly sensitive chapter.

SPIEGEL: There seems to be a good chemistry between you and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. You smoked a cigar together in Jerusalem.
Lieberman: Westerwelle is a very serious politician. I think he represents Germany with dignity.

SPIEGEL: Most of the Germans have a different opinion. They think, Westerwelle behaves more like the leader of the opposition than a foreign minister. Why are you always perceived as the bad guy?
Lieberman: People can choose between the sweet lie or the bitter truth. I say the bitter truth, but many people don’t want to hear it.

Schöner Schlusssatz. Die Spiegel-Leute gehören wohl zu der „Sweet lie“-Fraktion.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Foreign Minister, we thank you for this interview.

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