Lieberman blames the PA for Eilat terrorist attacks

US, Germany, France involved in calming tensions with Egypt over killing of Egyptian security officers during Thursday's attack.

By
August 20, 2011 16:06
3 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman [file]

Foreign Minsiter Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai)

The incidents of the last few days show that Palestinian claims to have embraced diplomacy over violence are as detached from reality as the distance between Ramallah and the United Nations in New York, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Saturday night before convening a meeting of the ministry’s senior staff to assess the situation.

“The Palestinian Authority leadership, which is constantly involved in incitement against Israel and the glorification of terrorists, bears full responsibility for the murderous terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis on the way to a vacation,” Lieberman said in a statement.

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Lieberman, who recently called for Israel to cut off contacts with the PA, said the Palestinians do not have suitable leadership and the “only thing that unites the Hamas government in Gaza and the PA government in Judea and Samaria is terrorism and hatred toward Israel.”

The consultations at the Foreign Ministry came at the end of a day of intensive diplomatic activity aimed at defusing a crisis with Egypt over the killing of Egyptian security officers and a threat from Cairo to recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv, and a failed effort Friday to get the UN Security Council to issue a condemnation of Thursday’s attacks. The Security Council move was blocked by Lebanon, currently a member of the body, which said Thursday’s attack was not a terrorist attack, but rather a military attack against soldiers.

While the Security Council was unable because of Lebanon to issue a statement condemning Thursday’s attack, the Quartet – which includes the UN – did so in a statement it released Saturday night.

The Quartet issued a joint statement condemning the attacks “and all acts of terrorism in the strongest terms.”



“These are cowardly acts of premeditated terrorism. The Quartet hopes those involved in the planning and conduct of these gruesome attacks will quickly be brought to justice,” the statement read.

The statement said the Quartet remained “concerned about the unsustainable situation in Gaza as well as the risk of escalation,” and called for “restraint from all sides.”

For the first time, the Quartet also expressed “its concern about the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula.

Recent commitments by the Egyptian government to address the security situation in the Sinai are important, and the Quartet encourages the Egyptian government to find a lasting resolution to the issue of Sinai security.”

Throughout Saturday, the ministry was busy trying to diffuse the situation with Egypt, after Cairo threatened to withdraw its envoy if Israel did not apologize.

Officials from the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office were involved in drafting the wording of the statement Defense Minister Ehud Barak put out saying, “We regret the deaths of members of the Egyptian security forces during the terror attack on the Israeli-Egyptian border.”

At the same time, Israel was in contact with US, German and French officials, who were involved in calming down the situation. At the end of the day, one Foreign Ministry official said this particular crisis with Egypt was “over.”

Outside the Israel’s embassy in Cairo, meanwhile, there have been intermittent protests, with hundreds of people burning Israeli flags, tearing down metal barriers and calling for the ouster of Israel’s ambassador.

Foreign Ministry officials said that in the Egyptian press the deaths of the Egyptian security officials was reported without any context, and there was little mention of Thursday’s terrorist attack in the South.

“For the Egyptian public, it seemed as if Israel just struck out of the blue,” the official said.


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