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February 19, 2017 12:12 pm

Israeli Defense Minister: Middle East Dividing Line Is Extremists vs. Moderates, Not Judaism vs. Islam

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks at the Munich Security Conference, Feb. 19, 2017. Photo: Ariel Hermoni / Israeli Defense Ministry.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks at the Munich Security Conference, Feb. 19, 2017. Photo: Ariel Hermoni / Israeli Defense Ministry.

With the support it provides to terrorist groups, Iran is “undermining the stability of the entire region,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday in remarks delivered at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

“There is a clear picture in the Middle East — for the first time since 1948, the Arab world understands that Iran is the threat, not Israel,” Lieberman was quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 as saying. “This is an opportunity; we want dialogue. The story in the Middle East is of extremists vs. moderates, not Judaism against Islam.”

Lieberman — like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump earlier this week — called for the involvement of other Middle East players in the peace process with the Palestinians.

“In my opinion, we must push for a two-state solution based on the principle of a population and territorial exchange,” Lieberman said. “There is one problem — the Palestinians can’t sign an agreement with Israel; this requires regional intervention. The Arab world will act alongside the Palestinians.”

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Later on Sunday, at the same conference, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, “I believe 2017 will be a year in which we will bring solutions. I believe we can stabilize the situation in Yemen and achieve progress in the Arab-Israeli conflict. We are ready to do our part.”

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni — currently a Zionist Union MK — was sitting in the first row when al-Jubeir spoke.

On Friday, on the sidelines of the conference, Lieberman met for the first time with new US Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

According to Israeli media outlets, the two discussed the threats posed by Iran, as well as other Middle East security issues.

“The three main problems we must handle are Iran, Iran and Iran,” Lieberman stated after the meeting with Mattis. “We must build a genuine and effective coalition to deal with the terrorism it [Iran] spreads around the world, the development of missiles it is engaged in and its nuclear arms race.”

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