Lieberman blasts Netanyahu for talks with Arab list

Lieberman heads the hardline anti-Arab Yisrael Beitenu party, which is currently in opposition

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Israel’s former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel talks with the head of parliament’s Arab parties, accusing him of granting legitimacy to “terror supporters”.

Lieberman, who heads the hardline anti-Arab Yisrael Beitenu party which is currently in opposition, stepped down as Israel’s top diplomat earlier this month.


He could still potentially join Netanyahu’s coalition, which only has a razor-thin majority with 61 seats in the 120-member Knesset or parliament.

Ayman Odeh heads the Joint List, which groups the main Arab parties in the Knesset and won 13 seats in the March elections, becoming the third largest grouping in parliament.

“This man represents a list of terror supporters in the Israeli parliament -- and the prime minister of Israel, who heads a government which defines itself as nationalist, is meeting with him,” said Lieberman in a statement.

“Netanyahu’s meeting with Odeh, one of the sharpest opponents of Israel being the state of the Jewish people, gives legitimacy to forces working to destroy Israel from within and gives a stamp of approval to the fifth column working inside the Israeli parliament,” he said.

Lieberman also voiced support for Netanyahu’s election day remarks in which he said Arabs were voting “in droves” saying he was right to warn about it because they were being encouraged to do so by “elements hostile to Israel, first and foremost the Palestinian Authority.”

Netanyahu’s remarks were widely denounced as racist and even drew a public rebuke from U.S. President Barack Obama.

Lieberman is known for his blistering attacks on Israel’s Arab minority as well as on the Palestinian leadership, with critics branding him as a dangerous radical and a racist.

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