(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The country must unite to combat Palestinian delegitimization against Israel, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said on Monday morning as he refuted genocide charges by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
“The Palestinians are stubborn opponents who have chosen a path of war and lies against Israel,” Erdan said in an interview with Army Radio.
“The Right and Left [on the political spectrum] have to unite against this campaign of delegitimization,” Erdan said. More money should be set aside in the budget for international public relations which is just as important as the IDF in defending Israel, Erdan said.
He echoed Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman by blaming Abbas and the Palestinians for the failed peace talks and said that the PA president was engaged in “diplomatic terrorism” against Israel.
He spoke right after Erekat, who has been conducting interviews in the Israeli media to support Abbas’s speech on Friday to the opening session of the 69th UN General Assembly in New York.
Abbas charged that the IDF attacks against Hamas in Gaza this summer were tantamount to genocide.
“I know the Israelis are provoked by the use of the word genocide but that is the reality on the ground,” he said. Erekat charged that 96 percent of the Gaza deaths were civilians. Israel in turn has claimed that more than half of them were militants.
Abbas is pushing the UN Security Council to support a resolution that would set a time-table for a two-state solution with Israel based on the pre-1967 lines.
Erekat said it was important for Israel to accept this general concept before negotiations could proceed on core issues such as refugees, Jerusalem, security and borders.
But when asked if the Palestinians would similarly make a concession and agree that refugees would not be able to return to Israel, Erekat said such matters should be left for the negotiating table.
Israel has long argued that all matters should be resolved through direct talks and that anything else predetermines the outcome of the negotiations.
Erekat told Army Radio that the acceptance of the pre-1967 lines meant that the Palestinians would receive in the end only 22% of historic Palestine and that 78% would go to Israel.
Erdan said: " To my sorrow Abu Mazen’s long standing policy has been to boycott talks or to insist on conditions that are impossible to meet.”
He added, “In the last few years it has been proven that there is no one to speak with.”
Every time Israel has withdrawn from territory, in southern Lebanon and in Gaza, terrorists have taken over the land.
The same thing would happen if Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank, he said.
“If not for the IDF, Hamas would reign there,” he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who landed in New York on Sunday night, is expected to address the UN General Assembly at 7 p.m. today. He plans to refute Abbas’s speech.