Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman kept up his campaign against Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, calling him a “liar, coward and
wimp” who would quit if he had any modicum of self-respect.
last month sent a letter to the Mideast Quartet calling for Abbas to be
replaced, said at a briefing with reporters that the PA leader neither
represents anyone nor controls anything. He repeated his charge in the letter to
the Quartet that Abbas was engaged in diplomatic terrorism, which he said was
even worse than conventional terrorism.
Referring to the recent violent
economic protests in the PA, Liberman said Abbas and his government were living
“on borrowed time” and that it would be impossible to save them just as it was
impossible to save other “rotten regimes” in the Arab world.
contributions or transfers of money will help the PA, he said, coming out
against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision this week to advance it NIS
250 million in tax revenue transfers.
“He has simply lost all his credit
with the Palestinians,” he said. “It is not our business who will come in his
place. If they want to conduct a dialogue [with Israel], we will do so. If they
don’t, we will know how to act with those who don’t want a dialogue with
Liberman said that Israel should not be concerned about a PA
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a Rosh Hashana
interview with The Jerusalem Post that will appear Sunday, said the opposite and
that Israel was concerned about who might replace Abbas.
“I don’t think
anyone looking at this rationally would want an economic collapse that would
lead to a take over of Iran’s proxy in the suburbs of Jerusalem,” he said,
referring to Hamas.
In response to the foreign minister’s comments, PA
spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said the Palestinians are the only ones who choose
“Liberman and his friends do not choose the leaders of the
Palestinians,” Abu Rudaineh said. The PA spokesman said that Liberman’s remarks
reflected the status of a “defeated man who is boycotted by the
Abu Rudaineh called on Netanyahu to clarify his position
regarding Liberman’s remarks.
“It is unacceptable for the Israeli
government to say that Liberman does not represent it,” he added. “Liberman’s
statement are completely unacceptable.”
Senior Likud political sources
have said that Liberman’s attacks on Abbas were motivated by a sense that the
elections are around the corner, and that he is looking for an issue that would
resonate with the electorate.
Previous issues Liberman has championed,
such as the haredi draft, have been usurped by others, the sources
Liberman also termed the Oslo Accords the worst diplomatic mistake
Israel has made since 1948.
Weighing in on the friction with the US over
the Iranian nuclear issue, the foreign minister said this was not the first time
there have been differences between the US and Israel. But, he said, Jerusalem’s
relationship with the US was a cornerstone of Israeli foreign
“All disputes should be handled outside of the media [and not in
the form] of a public discussion,” he said.
Liberman also defended fellow
Yisrael Beytenu MK and Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, saying that although
his behavior is not comparable to that of United Torah Judaism MKs Menahem
Eliezer Moses or Yisrael Eichler, the allegations levied against him this week
in a Channel 2 report by a former bodyguard were far from the truth. The
bodyguard accused the minister of missing work – including a critical cabinet
meeting dealing with the release of Gilad Schalit – because of his partying,
which allegedly included drinking and frequenting strip clubs.
said he valued Meseznikov’s professionalism and that he judged politicians by
their work and not what they do in their free time. said that what Meseznikov
did in his free time did not interest him, and that what he was interested in
was how he performed as a minister. As a minister, he said, Meseznikov has
performed very well, as attested by a booming tourism industry.
Hoffman contributed to this report.