Last Updated: Sun May 20, 2012 15:56 pm (KSA) 12:56 pm (GMT)

Israel’s Lieberman ‘unbearable,’ says Austrian minister

Austria’s defense minister was quoted as saying that Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “is unbearable as a member of the Israeli government.” (Reuters)
Austria’s defense minister was quoted as saying that Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “is unbearable as a member of the Israeli government.” (Reuters)

Austria’s defense minister has called Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “unbearable” because of his insistence on hawkish policies regarding the Mideast peace process and Iran.

Sunday newspaper Die Presse quoted Norbert Darabos as saying that Israel’s government is using “external enemies such as Iran or the Palestinians to divert attention from domestic social problems.”

The center-left politician is also quoted as saying that Lieberman “is unbearable as a member of the Israeli government.”

Lieberman’s office declined to comment on Darabos’ remarks.

Darabos told the paper that Israel’s recent government shake-up that led to the inclusion of the centrist Kadima party is a hopeful sign “which could reduce the radicalization” of the country’s policies.

Israel considers Iran, a country it suspects of developing a nuclear weapons, an existential threat.

This is not the first time an Israeli official has been publicly criticized by a top diplomat.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly told U.S. President Barack Obama that he could not “stand” Benjamin Netanyahu and that he thinks the Israeli Prime Minister “is a liar,” a report in the French website Arret sur Images in November.

Obama was quoted to have replied to Sarkozy with: “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”

The report claims that the conversation began with Obama carping Sarkozy for not having warned him that France would be voting in favor of the Palestinian membership bid in UNESCO.

Washington had strongly opposed Palestine’s UNESCO bid, in the fear that full membership would ultimately boost the Palestinian bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations ─ a diplomatic move also opposed by allies Israel and the United States.

Both Sarkozy and Obama reportedly voiced their remarks on Netanyahu in a private room for the two presidents to discuss matters of the day after the G20 conference in Cannes. But their comments were made embarrassingly public due to the microphones which were accidentally left on.

Obama seemingly poked fun at the “hot-mic gaffe” scenario earlier this month at the White House Correspondents Dinner, broadcasting audio from behind the scenes before he came onto stage for a comedy-filled speech traditionally associated with the event.

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