Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, saying that as long as he was in power there would be
no diplomatic breakthrough.
Liberman, speaking in the Knesset at a
meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu faction, said it was clear that the incident
Sunday in the South Hebron Hills – where two Palestinians were killed after an
Israeli truck driver from Ashkelon said they ambushed him and tried to steal his
truck – was a terrorist incident.
Israelis must stop “deluding”
themselves and labeling various terrorist incidents as criminal acts, he
“What happened yesterday was the prevention of another Gilad
Schalit incident,” Liberman declared.
The foreign minister condemned
Abbas for saying that what happened in the southern Hebron hills was the cold
blooded murder of Palestinians by messianic settlers under the cover of the
“Israeli occupation army.”
“That says a lot about his intentions,”
Liberman said. “Those who need to understand why there is no progress in the
diplomatic process need to understand that Abu Mazen [Abbas] is the main
obstacle to any progress. He has no interest in coming to any agreement with
Israel. Someone who did not reach an agreement with [former prime minister Ehud]
Olmert and Tzipi Livni in Annapolis should not expect to reach an agreement with
[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and Liberman. Let us not lie to
No one should have any expectations that a diplomatic
breakthrough is around the corner, he said.
Liberman’s comments came as
Kadima head Shaul Mofaz headed to Washington for high-level talks with the Obama
administration, and as there has been a redoubling of efforts in recent days to
arrange a meeting either between Netanyahu and Abbas, or – barring that – at
least between Mofaz and Abbas.
Mofaz, who as part of Kadima’s joining the
coalition was entrusted with dealing with the Palestinian issue, is scheduled to
meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon.
There is some speculation US
President Barack Obama may step in and say hello during the meeting at the White
House with Donilon.
Observers noted that the arrangement with Mofaz in
the government dealing with the Palestinian issue contained built-in kernels of
tension between Mofaz and Liberman, even though Liberman – in the early days of
his tenure at the foreign ministry – said he had no interest or intention of
dealing with the Palestinian track because he did not think it would bear any