FM: Abbas using ‘diplomatic terror’ against Israel

Meridor, differing from PM, focuses on closing of Iran’s nuclear facility at Qom instead of int’l supervision.

FM Liberman in the rain near Jordan Valley_390 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
FM Liberman in the rain near Jordan Valley_390
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is engaging in “diplomatic terror” against Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Friday in Singapore.
Liberman’s comments, in reference to Thursday’s UN Human Right’s Council decision to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Israel to probe the settlements’ impact on Palestinian human rights, came during a meeting with Singapore President Tony Tan.
Calling the council a “theater of the absurd of hypocrisy and dual standards,” Liberman said he would convene a meeting of senior officials in the Foreign Ministry to determine whether Israel should cut off all ties with the council, and to consider lobbying other countries – first and foremost the US – to get them to leave the body.
That, however, is not going to be an easy chore, especially judging from a statement the US State Department issued on Friday about the council’s activity last week.
While the statement said the US “reaffirmed its strong opposition to a series of anti- Israel measures that continue unnecessarily to politicize the council’s human rights agenda,” it added that the council’s 19th Regular Session helped “spur action on a series of important human rights situations around the world, in part due to vigorous US engagement.
“Our persistence in combating the council’s enduring anti-Israel bias, coupled with our successful efforts to confront human rights violations around the world, underscores the importance of United States leadership and engagement at the Human Rights Council and across the UN system,” the American statement said.
In reference to Iran, Liberman – on the last leg of an Asian tour that also took him to South Korea and China – said, during a meeting on Saturday with the Jewish community in Singapore, that the upcoming talks between the Islamic Republic and the European powers constituted the “last opportunity” to convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
He also said Iran’s overarching goal was political – to export the Iranian revolution to as many countries as possible – and that nuclear weapons were merely a tool to advance that goal.
Iran had “charismatic and fanatic” leaders, many of whom studied at the best universities abroad, who were “using Israel as an excuse” when their real battle was over whose values – theirs or the West’s – would dominate the world, Liberman said.
Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor said on Saturday that Israel wanted to see next month’s talks between Iran and the Europeans end with Iran stopping all uranium enrichment, removing all uranium in the country enriched beyond 3.5 percent, and agreeing to tight supervision.
Meridor’s comments varied slightly from the goals for the talks Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu laid down earlier this month in Ottawa, where he said nothing about international supervision, but instead demanded that Iran close its nuclear facility at Qom.
Meridor, speaking on Channel 2’s Meet the Press, said that if sanctions were increased and more countries became involved, the Iranians – already under pressure – may look for a “way out.”
The upcoming talks, he said, may be that way out, but for those talks not to be just about Iran buying time, “there need to be clear goals.”
Meanwhile, even though government officials said on Thursday that Israel would not cooperate with the council’s settlement fact-finding mission, Meridor said Jerusalem would wait and see what the committee’s mandate was, and who were its members, before making a final decision. At the same time, he said Israel “did not have to pay too much attention” to the committee.
Meridor said the Palestinians’ decision to push the issue was further indication that four years ago, after rejecting an offer from prime minister Ehud Olmert, they “decided to stop negotiations and move to unilateral action.
“Instead of talking to us, they prefer to pressure Israel at international forums,” he said. “We are ready for a Palestinian state, but a Palestinian state won’t be established at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, nor in New York, but through agreement with us.”