FM: We've made enough gestures to Abbas

Lieberman The era of gr

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday morning warned Mahmoud Abbas against ending security cooperation with Israel and said Jerusalem had made enough gestures to the Palestinian Authority president. "We've made a series of gestures to Abbas, including [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policy speech at] Bar Ilan, the removal of West Bank roadblocks, the settlement construction freeze and allowing him to hold the Fatah conference in Bethlehem," he told Israel Radio. "We've made enough gestures." "[And yet] I have heard Abbas recently threatening to end security cooperation with Israel," continued the foreign minister. "He's the only one who would lose out from that, both personally and from the point of view of the PA." In an interview with Palestinian television on Saturday, Abbas had said that recent unilateral IDF actions, including the killing of the three Palestinians involved in the murder of Meir Chai near Shavei Shomron, had caused him to reconsider the current joint security pact. In similar remarks Saturday night, meanwhile, Lieberman said Israel "does not need to give any more" in order to speak to Abbas. "We have paid enough. We have made many gestures and received nothing in return," he said at an ambassadors conference held at the Foreign Ministry. "On the contrary; there is a limit to hypocrisy. You can't speak of a new era and at the same time sentence to death those who sell land to Jews, a sentence signed by Abbas." Also at Saturday night's conference, Lieberman criticized the conduct of several Israeli ambassadors stationed around the world for ingratiating the governments of the countries where they are posted. "The era of groveling is over," Lieberman said at an ambassador conference held at the Foreign Ministry. Unnamed officials in the ministry assessed that Lieberman was directing his remarks especially at Gaby Levy, posted in Turkey, who is making efforts to mend ties between Ankara and Jerusalem. "I have seen several ambassadors whose identification with the countries where they are posted is so great they are constantly trying to justify [to Israel] the other side's point of view," the foreign minister said. "This stance is wrong. There should not be an attitude of groveling and self-effacement." "We will not look for friction and confrontation but we will also not turn the other cheek. For every action there will be a reaction and this is the policy I demand from the ambassadors," Lieberman added. Turkey has issued severe criticism of Israel since Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter, and the phrasing of some of the statements by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan shocked Israeli officials, especially considering the strong bilateral relations in tourism, commerce and military cooperation the two states have. Lieberman opposes Turkey resuming its role as mediator between Israel and Syria in indirect peace talks and said it would not be given the role of go-between so long as he remains in his position. When one of Lieberman's former advisers laughed during his speech, Lieberman said he was laughing in agreement to the foreign ministers' words. "Some are laughing and some are crying," ambassador Levy quipped. Lieberman insisted that "ambassadors need to be in good relations and respect the host country, but we will not tolerate insults and affronts." 97 delegates arrived at the conference, and discussed issues ranging from Iran's nuclear pursuit to public diplomacy and Israeli commercial exports to developing countries.