The bizarre Swedish report led to a no-less-bizarre Israeli response. Bad and irresponsible journalism crossed paths with bad and irresponsible diplomacy. Instead of simply denying the report, Lieberman, true to form, acted like a bully. In his fiery response – from his disrespectful mention of the Holocaust to identifying every criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, to his ludicrous demand that the Swedish Foreign Ministry condemn the article – Lieberman caused great diplomatic damage to Israel. He even scandalously attacked Norway for marking the 150th birthday of its greatest author. However, the article’s damage to the fight against the occupation cannot be ignored.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1110401.html
Despite Israel’s harsh protests, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published a second article accusing the IDF of harvesting Palestinian organs.
In the article, published Sunday, Oisín Cantwell and Urban Andersson report from the northern West Bank village of Imatin, where 19-year-old Bilal Ahmad Ghanem was killed during a clash with Israeli soldiers in 1992.
According to the family, the IDF demanded NIS 5,000 (about $1,300) to return the body.
“It was the middle of the night. The soldiers caused an electrical power outage in the entire village. Bilal was returned in a black bag; he had no teeth. The body was stitched from the neck all the way down to the abdomen,” the Swedish newspaper quoted the mother as saying. According to the family, the IDF demanded NIS 5,000 (about $1,300) to return the body.
“It was the middle of the night. The soldiers caused an electrical power outage in the entire village. Bilal was returned in a black bag; he had no teeth. The body was stitched from the neck all the way down to the abdomen,” the Swedish newspaper quoted the mother as saying.
For full article, visit http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3765992,00.html
However, Netanyahu’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, told reporters Sunday that he sees no chance of peace. “In the 16 years since the Oslo Accords, we haven’t managed to bring peace to the region, and I’m willing to bet that there won’t be peace in another 16 years, either. Certainly not on the basis of the two-state solution,” Lieberman said.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1109616.html
The diplomatic scandal that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stirred over the article in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet is wrong since the government of a state that respects the freedom of the press is not responsible for what newspapers publish. That there was a demand for the Swedish government to “condemn” the article in question suggests Lieberman must still be thinking in Soviet terms.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1109429.html
On Friday, the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan met with Deputy Foreign Minister of the Scandinavian country and urged his government to issue a denunciation of the article. Deputy Foreign Minister Frank Belfrage emphasized his country’s freedom of speech and how it limits the ability of the government to respond to articles in the media.
It also emerged Thursday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is considering a libel lawsuit against Donald Boström, the writer of the article. Boström has reportedly been trying to publish a version of the article about Israel harvesting organs since 1992.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1109008.html
In a blog post on Thursday evening, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote that he would not condemn the article, and that freedom of expression is part of the Swedish constitution.
For full article, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8213873.stm
A spokesman for Israel’s interior ministry said it was freezing the issue of entry visas to Swedish journalists, though those already working in the country would not be affected for now.
The newspaper commented on its story on Sunday, acknowledging that it had no proof of any organ theft but argued that the story deserved publication because of the issues it raised.
For full article, visit http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/08/200982434437906626.html
In an unusually harsh criticism, an Israeli Minister on Monday said the Jewish state “does not take orders from Barack Obama” after the US President renewed support for the Annapolis agreement and the stalled roadmap plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan of the Likud party also praised hardliner Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who last week said that Israel was not bound by the 2007 Annapolis talks.
Security sources said the intelligence community has concluded that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would become a target of such groups as Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. The sources said Lieberman’s statements, regarded by Arabs as provocative, as well as his residency in the West Bank would garner assassination attempts.
“The fact that he lives in the West Bank makes him a much easier target than say if he lived in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem,” a security source said.
For full article, visit http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2009/me_israel0273_04_06.asp
The corruption investigation into Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is likely to produce charges of money laundering, fraud and breach of trust, police sources said Saturday, adding that questioning of the Yisrael Beiteinu leader was nearing an end.
Unless additional testimony is needed, the police will submit their recommendations on filing an indictment in the coming weeks, the sources said.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076401.html
Avigdor Lieberman, chair of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) party, joined Ehud Olmert’s government as deputy prime minister and Minister of Strategic Threats in October 2006. As a cabinet member, Lieberman is an integral part of all strategic discussions. Lieberman, who is known for his advocacy of “transfer,” or ethnic cleansing, of Palestinian citizens in Israel, as well as his declaration that Palestinian members of the Knesset who meet with Palestinian leaders from the West Bank and Gaza should be executed as traitors, immigrated to Israel from Moldova at the age of 20.
For full article, visit http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/people/658.shtml
In an interview with Israel Radio, the Kadima chairwoman said she had expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce that he did not share Lieberman’s expressed sentiments, and was disappointed that such clarification was not made.
Meanwhile, outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert said on Thursday that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process kick-started in Annapolis bolstered international recognition of Israel. Speaking at a farewell event organized by his Kadima party, Olmert responded to Lieberman’s disparaging that Israel was not bound by the framework of the U.S.-sponsored summit.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076196.html