JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's hawkish foreign minister lashed out at the international community on Wednesday, criticizing its policies toward the Palestinians and charging that many world leaders would readily sacrifice Israel to radical Islam just as Europe appeased the Nazis before World War II.
Avigdor Lieberman hit back at European foreign ministers for condemning Israel's plans to build settler housing in an especially sensitive area of the West Bank.
He also accused the international community of ignoring threats to Israel, including weapons smuggling by Palestinian militants and calls for Israel's destruction from Palestinian Hamas militants and Iran.
On Tuesday night, Lieberman said some of his European counterparts "regard Israel's destruction as a given." On Wednesday, he accused Europeans of being prepared to abandon Israel as they gave up Czechoslovakia to the Nazis on the eve of World War II.
"Expressions and promises of commitment to Israel's security from all around the world reminds me of similar commitments made to Czechoslovakia in `38," Lieberman told a diplomatic conference, invoking an analogy he has used before.
"My sense is that all the promises and commitments to Israel's security are mere words," he said, speaking English.
"When push comes to shove, many key leaders would be willing to sacrifice Israel without batting an eyelid, in order to appease the radical Islamist militants and ensure quiet for themselves," he said.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for the prime minister, would not comment when asked if Lieberman's criticisms reflected government policy or his personal opinion.
The blunt-talking Lieberman appeared to be heating up his rhetoric ahead of Israel's Jan. 22 election in an effort to impress hawkish voters. His Yisrael Beitenu Party is running on a joint list with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud. Polls indicate the combined slate will finish first, and Netanyahu will keep his job.
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