Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman stepped up his campaign against Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, saying not only is Abbas engaged
in “diplomatic terror” against Israel, but he is also not in a position to make
commitments for the Palestinians.
Liberman’s highly critical comments in
an Israel Radio interview came just four days after he sent a letter to the
Quartet calling for new elections in the PA and the replacement of
The foreign minister said that before any negotiations, two basic
questions must be asked: Can the person on the other side “deliver the goods,”
and what are his intentions? Not only is Abbas unable to “deliver the goods”
because he is not in control of Gaza and only barely in control of Judea and
Samaria, but his intentions – as seen through a wide range of anti-Israeli
diplomatic moves he has engineered – are not peaceful, Liberman
“He has no legitimacy, and even if we were to sign an agreement
with Abu Mazen [Abbas], it is clear that any Palestinian government that arises
after him will claim that the agreement has no support and will not be
recognized,” he said.
Liberman said there was a “clear division of labor
between Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal of Hamas – who are leading
armed terror against Israel while the PA is leading “diplomatic
“The diplomatic terror that Abu Mazen is leading is more
dangerous for us then the armed terror Haniyeh, or others are leading. It is a
lot more dangerous. He is busy delegitimizing Israel,” Liberman
Liberman cites as examples of “diplomatic terror” Abbas’s
accusations that Israel is an apartheid state; filing alleged war crimes charges
at The Hague against the IDF; working for the creation of an investigative
commission at the UN Human Rights Council; boycotts against Israel;
unilateralism at the United Nations and UNESCO; and the charges against Israel
that it is stealing natural resources.
Liberman said that it was a
mistake for Israel to be lulled into diplomatic inaction because of the present
period of quiet with the Palestinians.
He added that this period would
not last forever, and that unless Israel initiated and led a course of action, this quiet would “boomerang” against
Asked if he was not concerned that Hamas could end up winning an
election in the West Bank, Liberman said that if that were the case, at least
Israel would know it was dealing with an enemy, not someone who talks one way,
and acts in another.
“It doesn’t work,” he said of the present situation.
“We can only lose like this.”
In response on Thursday the PA stepped up
its criticism of Liberman, accusing him of inciting against Abbas and meddling
in the internal affairs of the Palestinians.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior
Fatah official and Abbas aide, said that if Israel was serious about achieving
peace with the Palestinians, it should get rid of people like
Ahmed accused Liberman of “using mafia language” to incite
against Abbas. He said that neither Liberman nor any Israel had the right to
meddle in the Palestinians’ internal affairs.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu
Rudaineh said Liberman’s remarks against the PA president created an atmosphere
of violence and instability. He too accused Liberman of meddling in the internal
affairs of the Palestinians.
Hafez Barghouti, editor of the PA’s Al-Hayat
Al-Jadeeda newspaper, said that Liberman’s campaign against Abbas did not come
as a surprise. He noted that already back in 2006 Liberman had talked about
replacing Abbas with Mohamed Rashid, a former aide to Yasser Arafat.
Abdel Rahman, a Palestinian commentator and political analyst, claimed that
Liberman’s remarks were aimed at paving the way for he physical elimination of
He called on the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting to
discuss ways of providing security to Abbas and the PA leadership.
source in the Prime Minister’s Office, which on Wednesday distanced Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from Liberman’s call to replace Abbas, said that
while Netanyahu was unhappy with Abbas’s diplomatic maneuvers, he has never
called such steps “diplomatic terror.”
However, the source cited
Netanyahu as saying in the past that the problem was that the world treated
Abbas like a “spoiled child” and let him get away with behavior that made the
diplomatic process impossible.
Rather than talk tough to him, the source
charged, the international community – which was afraid that Abbas was weak and
needed help – never extracted a price for negative behavior.
“He does not
pay a price internationally because he is considered the pragmatist, and as a
result he has no incentive to change his behavior,” the source said.
official responded to the furious Palestinian reactions to Liberman’s letter and
comments, saying that the best way for the Palestinians to prove Liberman wrong
would be simply to agree to negotiations.
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