Lieberman: Unilateral steps require unilateral responses

FM calls Abbas’s tactics ‘despicable,’ seeks joint Likud, Israel Beiteinu, Kadima pursuit of peace initiative to curb PA statehood bid.

July 6, 2011 12:11
2 minute read.
Lieberman on the way to a cabinet meeting on Thurs

Lieberman worried 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )


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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned the Palestinian Authority not to pursue statehood in a UN vote, saying on Wednesday that “unilateral steps require unilateral responses.

“We have a variety of possible responses that the Foreign Ministry is prepared to present to decision-makers,” Lieberman told reporters after a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.

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Some possible steps he mentioned include a stop to transferring tax money to the Palestinians, and no longer allowing free passage of Palestinian officials through checkpoints.

Israel can also put pressure on the Palestinians via the US, Lieberman said.

The government is seeking a “moral majority in the UN,” he explained. “There is a good chance of coming to an arrangement with the leaders of the Quartet, the US and the UN to abandon a [Palestinian] unilateral initiative.”

However, Lieberman said that 125-130 countries were likely to vote in favor of Palestinian statehood in the UN General Assembly in September.

“We don’t want to live in a fantasy,” he quipped. “We try hard, and sometimes we succeed and see results.”

Lieberman posited that a joint peace initiative from Israel’s three largest parties – Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Kadima – could stop the Palestinian statehood vote.

“If we reach such a joint agreement, the world would accept it,” Lieberman said.

He told the committee: “The insistence that negotiations would be based on the ‘67 borders is not accepted by the coalition and most of the opposition.”

“I am in favor of swapping land and population,” he explained.

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Lieberman also spoke out against PA President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that he was committing “despicable” acts against Israel.

In reference to the possibility of releasing Palestinian bodies to the PA, he said: “I don’t think Abbas deserves any good-will gestures from the State of Israel.”

“Abbas is taking difficult, harmful steps. It is his personal initiative to bring IDF soldiers who participated in Operation Cast Lead to [the International Criminal Court at] The Hague, and he is leading the initiative in the UN,” Lieberman explained. “Abbas also tried to stop Israel’s acceptance into the OECD.”

The foreign minister then voiced a major concern: Should the unilateral statehood bid succeed, the Palestinians will be members of the ICC, which could lead to further prosecutions of IDF soldiers and officers.

Lieberman also claimed that “most of the Palestinian leadership opposes unilateral moves. The main factor pushing for such steps is Abbas.”

“He wants to go down in the history books as the person who brought the greatest achievements for the Palestinian people, without compromising,” Lieberman stated. “Abbas is more stubborn than [former Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat on the topics of refugees, Jerusalem, land swaps and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

“However, unlike Arafat, he agreed to give up on terror.

“Abbas doesn’t deserve any good-will gestures,” the foreign minister continued.

“He deserves the opposite. No Palestinian incites against Israel as much as Abbas does.”

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