Avigdor Lieberman: Israel should press to join NATO, EU


Cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel should work actively toward joining NATO and the European Union.

"Israel's diplomatic and security goal ... must be clear: joining NATO and entering the European Union."

According to Lieberman, "The war we are waging in the Middle East is not a war of the state of Israel alone, it is a war of the entire free world, and we are situated on the front lines."
Lieberman, minister for strategic threats, is one of the nation's most outspoken hawks, often enraging rightists as well as leftists with such proposals as swapping land with the Palestinian Authority in order to place large numbers of Israeli Arabs outside the borders of the state.

Speaking to Israel Radio, he dismissed suggestions that joining NATO or the EU would compromise Israel's freedom of action in fighting terrorism.

"Today, Palestinian terrorism is part of the worldwide jihad. Palestinian terrorism is fueled by Al Qaida, the Iranians and Hezbollah. It is not [solely] Palestinian terrorism.

"There is no doubt that membership in NATO would still afford us 100 percent freedom in military activity."