Lieberman worried 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned the Palestinian Authority not to
pursue statehood in a UN vote, saying on Wednesday that “unilateral steps
require unilateral responses.
“We have a variety of possible responses
that the Foreign Ministry is prepared to present to decision-makers,” Lieberman
told reporters after a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
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Some possible steps he mentioned include a stop to transferring
tax money to the Palestinians, and no longer allowing free passage of
Palestinian officials through checkpoints.
Israel can also put pressure
on the Palestinians via the US, Lieberman said.
The government is seeking
a “moral majority in the UN,” he explained. “There is a good chance of coming to
an arrangement with the leaders of the Quartet, the US and the UN to abandon a
[Palestinian] unilateral initiative.”
However, Lieberman said that
125-130 countries were likely to vote in favor of Palestinian statehood in the
UN General Assembly in September.
“We don’t want to live in a fantasy,”
he quipped. “We try hard, and sometimes we succeed and see
Lieberman posited that a joint peace initiative from Israel’s
three largest parties – Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Kadima – could stop the
Palestinian statehood vote.
“If we reach such a joint agreement, the
world would accept it,” Lieberman said.
He told the committee: “The
insistence that negotiations would be based on the ‘67 borders is not accepted
by the coalition and most of the opposition.”
“I am in favor of swapping
land and population,” he explained.
Lieberman also spoke out against PA
President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that he was committing “despicable” acts against
In reference to the possibility of releasing Palestinian bodies
to the PA, he said: “I don’t think Abbas deserves any good-will gestures from
the State of Israel.”
“Abbas is taking difficult, harmful steps. It is
his personal initiative to bring IDF soldiers who participated in Operation Cast
Lead to [the International Criminal Court at] The Hague, and he is leading the
initiative in the UN,” Lieberman explained. “Abbas also tried to stop Israel’s
acceptance into the OECD.”
The foreign minister then voiced a major
concern: Should the unilateral statehood bid succeed, the Palestinians will be
members of the ICC, which could lead to further prosecutions of IDF soldiers and
Lieberman also claimed that “most of the Palestinian leadership
opposes unilateral moves. The main factor pushing for such steps is
“He wants to go down in the history books as the person who
brought the greatest achievements for the Palestinian people, without
compromising,” Lieberman stated. “Abbas is more stubborn than [former
Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat on the topics of refugees, Jerusalem, land
swaps and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
“However, unlike Arafat,
he agreed to give up on terror.
“Abbas doesn’t deserve any good-will
gestures,” the foreign minister continued.
“He deserves the
opposite. No Palestinian incites against Israel as much as Abbas does.”