The war of words between Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reached new heights over the weekend with
representatives from each side saying the other should be charged with war
crimes at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
On Friday, the
PA charged that Liberman’s recent statements calling for Abbas’s ouster
constitute incitement and said that he should be prosecuted in international
courts for extremism.
According to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency,
the PA Information Ministry charged Liberman of crossing “every red line in his
continuous incitement against Abbas,” and accused him of calling for the
assassination of Abbas.
The ministry said that Liberman should be charged
at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, calling on the EU, US and UN
to take action against his “continuous incitement.”
Sources in Liberman’s
office responded by saying that “the only way the Palestinians should go to The
Hague are as defendants for war crimes that were carried out for years against
Israeli babies, children, women and men through shocking terrorist attacks that
the current government – from Abbas downward – supported, encouraged, funded and
continue to fund and glorify today.”
Liberman has said repeatedly in
recent weeks that no diplomatic progress is possible with Abbas at the helm of
Approximately two weeks ago, he sent a letter to the Mideast
Quartet members – namely the EU, the UN, the US and Russia – calling for
elections to be held in the Palestinian Authority and the selection of a “new,
legitimate, hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership.”
“Due to Abbas’s
weak standing, and his policy of not renewing the negotiations, which is an
obstacle to peace, the time has come to consider a creative solution, to think
‘outside the box,’ in order to strengthen the Palestinian leadership,” Liberman
He accused Abbas of waging “diplomatic terrorism” against
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh issued a statement saying his
remarks were “incitement for violence and killing.” Liberman’s letter was
sparked by a letter the PA sent the EU in July entreating it not to upgrade
relations with Israel, and blaming Jerusalem for a litany of crimes and
The Prime Minister’s Office distanced itself at the time from
Liberman’s call to replace Abbas.
On Thursday, Liberman slammed a speech
PA Foreign Minister Riad Maliki gave at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference in
Tehran as something that Joseph Goebbels could have written.
Israel had stepped up military attacks against Palestinians and the sources of
“To the military attacks have now been added violent,
provoking and inciting attacks by settlers through organized and systematic
terror, which recalls the bloody events taken by the settler and armed gangs –
like the Hagana and others – during the Nakba in 1948.”
Staff contributed to this report.