Defense Minister Ehud Barak directed scathing criticism at Foreign Minister
Avigdor Liberman’s stance against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
If the PA regime were to lose influence, then the West Bank would
come under Hamas control, Barak told associates.
“Liberman’s comments on
the PA and its head do not represent the State of Israel, and harm the Israeli
If Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and [PA Prime Minister] Salam
Fayyad won’t rule Judea and Samaria, as Liberman dreams they won’t, Hamas will,”
Liberman made a series of comments last week against Abbas to
counterparts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly suggesting that Israel
stop supporting the Fatah-dominated PA leadership.
what he had been saying for weeks in Israel, telling the foreign ministers of a
dozen countries that as long as Abbas was chairman of the PA there was no chance
of forging an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
describing Abbas as the principle obstacle to peace, Liberman also claimed the
PA president had neither Íthe interest nor the ability to properly manage the Palestinians, but instead
“travel[s] the world inciting against Israel and blaming it for all his
The foreign minister’s most recent attack on Abbas followed
the PA president’s speech to the General Assembly, in which Abbas accused Israel
of “ethnic cleansing” and pursuing a “policy of war, occupation and settlement
In his denouncement of Liberman, Barak signaled his intent
to turn to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with an urgent request to hold a
meeting on Israeli policy toward the PA. Barak believes a change in policy is
needed, in light of security and economic concerns, irrespective of Abbas’s
harsh anti-Israel rhetoric.
“Israel still has basic interests in
safeguarding security in Judea and Samaria, which is in a very good place
compared to any other time,” Barak said.
He attributed the improvement to
the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), as well as to the work
carried out by PA security forces, and the economic policies of Fayyad and
Herb Keinon and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.