Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas of engaging in political terrorism against Israel, in an interview with Israel Radio Thursday. The PA president, he said, poses a greater threat to the Jewish state than the armed terrorism of Hamas.
FM: Abbas is engaged in political terrorism against Israel
In the interview, Liberman said Israel should ask itself whether the Palestinians can "deliver the goods," and whether Abbas has any interest in doing so. Liberman also noted that Abbas does not control Gaza and said he is unable to hold elections in the West Bank, "a reality that puts a question mark over his legitimacy in the eyes of the Palestinians."
Liberman went on to question whether the Palestinian Authority president is genuinely interested in peace. The foreign minister pointed to Abbas\’s naming of a Ramallah neighborhood after former Hamas bombmaker Yahya Ayyash, as well as his description of terrorists released in the Gilad Schalit deal as "freedom fighters." He also denounced Abbas for calling Israel an "apartheid state" and his efforts to seek statehood recognition at the UN.
In the interview, Liberman was asked about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu\’s refusal to support the foreign minister\’s letter to the Quartet Wednesday calling for Abbas\’s ouster through Palestinian elections. In it, Liberman described the PA under Abbas as a “despotic government riddled with corruption“ and wrote that: "Due to Abbas’s weak standing, and his policy of not renewing the negotiations which is an obstacle to peace, the time has come to consider a creative solution, to think ‘outside the box,’ in order to strengthen the Palestinian leadership.”
Liberman responded by claiming that his letter "does not contradict any government decision."
Nonetheless, a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said the letter “does not reflect the position of Prime Minister Netanyahu or the government as a whole.”
The PMO source stated that while Abbas “has created difficulties that have prevented the resumption of negotiations… it is not Israel’s policy to interfere in the electoral process in other places."
The impetus for Liberman\’s letter to the Quartet was a statement released by Abbas on Tuesday marking the 43rd anniversary of an attempt by Australian Christian Denis Michael Rohan to set fire to al-Aksa mosque.
Abbas wrote that “the fire, set by a criminal under the eyes of the Israeli Occupation Authorities, was the first [attack] in a series aiming to demolish al- Aksa mosque and build the alleged Temple in order to uproot its citizens, Judaize it and eternalize its occupation.”
He said that this, along with Israeli excavation work under al-Aksa, “will not undermine the fact that [Jerusalem] will forever be Arabic, Islamic and Christian.”