JERUSALEM, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Allies of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman on Tuesday fired back at French President Nicolas Sarkozy amid reports
that the latter urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remove the
top Israeli diplomat.
Local TV Channel Two on Monday reported that during Netanyahu's visit to
Paris last week, his host called on him to "get rid of" Lieberman, a firebrand
figure who triggered great controversy due to his ultranationalist tendency, and
to bring current opposition leader and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni back
into the ruling coalition.
"If the words attributed to the president of France are correct, the
interference of a president of a respected democratic state in the matters of
another democratic state is a grave and intolerable thing. We expect that
regardless of political stance, every political body in Israel will condemn this
callous attack by a foreign state in our domestic affairs," local daily Ha'aretz
quoted Lieberman's office as saying in response.
Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, a senior member of Lieberman's Israel
Beiteinu party, told Army Radio that "It is hard to believe that the leader of a
friendly country would express himself in such a way," adding that Netanyahu
should have "banged on the table" when Sarkozy attacked Lieberman.
For his part, Netanyahu stressed that he had "every confidence" in
Lieberman. Local news service Ynet quoted him as saying that "Lieberman is
committed to Israel's security and peace and is an important part of the