Israel's Lieberman: No Negotiation Over Jerusalem

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.

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?

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.

Part 4: 'Iran Is Threatening the Whole World'

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?

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.

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