FM: Abbas engaging in political terrorism

Liberman claims PA president more dangerous than Hamas's armed terrorism, cites unilateral efforts for UN recognition.

Foreign Minsiter Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai)
Foreign Minsiter Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai)
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 Abbas.
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 charged.
“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 terror.”
“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 said.
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 it.
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 Liberman.
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.
Adel Abdel Rahman, a Palestinian commentator and political analyst, claimed that Liberman’s remarks were aimed at paving the way for he physical elimination of Abbas.
He called on the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting to discuss ways of providing security to Abbas and the PA leadership.
A 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.
The 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.