Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on Britain to stop anti-Israel activities on British universities, during a meeting this week in London with his British counterpart William Hague.
“A clear message must be conveyed to British universities, that there is no room for appeasing and pacifying small, vocal groups that threaten violence at the expense of the rights of Israelis to freely express their opinions on the campuses,” Lieberman told the British minister.
At the meeting the two ministers discussed bilateral issues, including increasing Israel-UK cooperation, the situation in the Middle East and the negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program held in Baghdad between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 nations (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany).
“The Iranians are trying to project a more pleasant and calm atmosphere at the talks, but their goal is still the same: to obtain military nuclear capability,” Lieberman said.
Although the sanctions are having some effect, they are not enough to bring about a genuine change in the situation. All one has to do is pay attention to the negative Iranian intervention in every possible place in the Middle East, Liberman said.
Regarding the Middle East peace process, Britain's Foreign Ministe said that “continued illegal settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is harming Israel's international standing and endangering the two state solution".
In a statement issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Wednesday following his meeting with Lieberman, Hague said that Britain is concerned about the "current stalemate" in the Middle East peace process and that there is an urgent need for progress.
"I made clear the UK’s concern about the current stalemate in the Middle East peace process, and our view that there is an urgent need for progress. I reiterated our unswerving support for a lasting two state solution to the conflict that achieves a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian State, based on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem the future capital of both states, and a fair settlement for refugees, and our readiness to work with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to bring that about".
For his part, Lieberman stressed that “even if we would agree to divide Jerusalem and return to the last centimeter of the 1967 lines, the result would be the same as the results of the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip: rockets and terrorism aimed at Israel.”
“ The ones who are refusing to negotiate a just, sustainable agreement are the Palestinians. The Palestinian side under Abu Mazen's leadership is not a negotiating partner,” the Israeli Minister added.
Lieberman also briefed his counterpart about the recent changes in Israel politics resulting from the addition of Kadima to the government coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“This is an opportunity to address issues of vital importance to Israeli society, like secular-religious relations, the economy, governance, the role of minorities in society and illegal immigration,” said Lieberman.
He expressed his hope that this government would be the first in history to reach a full term.
During his London visit, Lieberman also met British Jewish leaders. He addressed an event hosted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) during which he said that “diaspora Jews should support Israel’s government regardless of its political complexion”.
He that Jews who organised a petition against his visit were a legitimate part of the debate about the future of Israel. “But my personal view is that Jews around the world should be loyal to the Israeli government.”
“My expectation from all Jewish communities around the world is that they support any Israeli government. It doesn’t matter if you have a left government or a right government.”
During his visit, hundreds of pro-Israel demonstrators waving Israeli flags faced off with pro-Palestinian groups protesting the visit, in London’s predominantly Jewish Hendon neighborhood, The Jewish Chronicle reported. The British Israel Coalition had called for the pro-Israel demonstration.