Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that there will be no return to 1967 borders and that settlements are not an obstacle to peace.
Lieberman made the remarks while addressing a conference of Israeli ambassadors.
The controversial foreign minster said that the Palestinians “refuse” to negotiate and are trying to internationalize the conflict, Haaretz reported.
“The only change that would happen here if we return to 1967 borders would be that the Qassam and Grad rocket fire will not only come from the Gaza Strip into southern Israeli cities but also from Qalqilya into central Israel,” the Israeli daily quoted him as saying.
Lieberman, once a nightclub bouncer, also criticized European countries for their recent condemnation of settler violence.
“The countries who criticized us need to understand that construction in the West Bank is not an obstacle to peace and those who pose an obstacle to negotiations, and the opportunity for peace, are the Palestinians who refuse to negotiate with us.”
He also labeled the European countries “irrelevant.”
The Moldovan-born foreign minister has frequently found himself in the headlines for his sometimes undiplomatic language, but is the most powerful partner in Netanyahu’s conservative coalition government.
In October, Lieberman told reporters in Jerusalem that President Abbas was the “greatest obstacle” to peace in the region.
UN spokesman Richard Miron said Lieberman’s remarks were “deeply troubling.”