Senior government officials took rhetorical aim at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, with National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz saying he is the leading enemy challenging Israel’s existence, and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely saying he is engaged in “diplomatic terrorism” against the Jewish state.
Steinitz, in an interview with Israel Radio, said that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority seek the destruction of Israel, saying that Abbas is even more hostile toward Israel than his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.
Steinitz made the remarks the day after Abbas, at a speech to the Fatah Congress in Ramallah, reiterated his demand that Israel must recognize a Palestinian state, but stressed he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, despite the PLO’s formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist in the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Abbas, Steinitz said, “will never really recognize [Israel’s] right to exist or the right for the self-determination of a Jewish homeland. Let’s not kid ourselves. From an ideological perspective, Abbas is the number one enemy of the very existence of Israel, even more so than Arafat.”
Hotovely, meanwhile, said after meeting visiting Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa that she asked him to pass a message to Abbas, whom he will be meeting during his four-day visit to the region, to cease his “diplomatic terrorism” against Israel.
She said Palestinian efforts to harm Israel in international forums does nothing to move forward any type of agreement.
Uruguay is currently a rotating member of the 15-nation UN Security Council Steinitz, in his interview, called approval of a UN General Assembly resolution on Wednesday that used exclusively Islamic terms to describe the Temple Mount as “a bad joke” that bordered on antisemitism.
“The UN General Assembly is a joke, the UN Security Council however is not a joke, and I hope and I believe that the American veto [there] will protect Israel against the attempts to harm it,” he told the radio station.
His comments come amid uncertainty in Jerusalem whether US President Barack Obama, in the waning days of his presidency would abstain, support or veto resolutions in the UN Security Council that Israel believes are one-sided and inimical to its interests.
US Ambassador Dan Shapiro addressed the issue during an interview on Army Radio, saying, “We will always oppose one-sided resolutions. That is a long-term policy. If ever there will be a one-sided resolution, we have opposed in the past and will always oppose.”