Interesting notes from Israel’s Maariv newspaper on the reception in Europe to Israel’s thug-in-chief Avigdor Lieberman:
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrived yesterday in London for a series of political meetings. He is to meet today with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
In his previous round of meetings in Europe, the Israeli foreign minister tried to establish what his counterparts’ positions were in Germany, the Czech republic, France and Italy with respect to upgrading relations between the European Union and Israel. Lieberman now is trying to pin down the countries that have friendlier relations with Israel to commit to supporting upgrading relations irrespective of progress in the political process with the Palestinians.
Lieberman’s meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was particularly important. Ma’ariv has learned that the French foreign minister demanded that all construction in settlements beyond the Green Line be stopped entirely, including construction that is geared to met the needs of natural growth. Foreign Minister Lieberman replied that there was no real way to stop construction whose purpose was to cope with the natural expansion of a family.
The Israeli leader explained recently in closed conversations that when he first came to the settlement Nokdim, “there were 15 children, and today there are more than 100, praise God. We can’t not open another kindergarten. It’s a natural thing.”
The French foreign minister replied to that argument that “the settlers’ children can study in the Palestinians’ schools and kindergartens. They can study together, but in any event, there mustn’t be any construction in the settlements.”
Lieberman told Kouchner that his position was unrealistic and failed to take a number of circumstances into account, such as the fact that the two populations did not speak or study in the same language, not to mention the security issue. The two men parted without reaching an agreement on the issue. A political source said last night that this exchange showed “just how unfamiliar a small portion of the European diplomats are with the facts on the ground. Anyone who might suggest that settler children travel to study with the Palestinians doesn’t understand what’s going on here. He’s disconnected.”