Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter on Sunday dismissed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's acceptance of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines as grandstanding ahead of Israel's upcoming elections.
Echoing Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman's position, Dichter told Israel Radio that Abbas's remarks, made in a Channel 2 interview on Friday, were a "very problematic" attempt to insert the Palestinian issue into elections. "This is supposed to strengthen the Israeli Left on the eve of elections," Dichter said.
"I think that you have to look at Abu Mazen's [Abbas's] interviews in both English and Arabic," he continued, noting that Abbas told an Egyptian media outlet that the Palestinian right of return to Israel was sacred, despite foregoing that claim in the English Channel 2 interview.
While Abbas represents "the only partner we can talk to" as the leader of the PA, Dichter said, the fact that he has not visited Gaza in five years and is at odds with the Hamas leadership that took over the Strip in a 2007 coup gives him limited sway.
"We must be very careful about negotiating with Abu Mazen about Judea and Samaria, and making Gaza a separate issue" that Israel will have to deal with later, Dichter said. "Israel cannot turn its policy in the region into 'three states for two nations.'"