Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Furthers Call for Abbas’ Exit, Citing “Diplomatic Terror”
A day after calling for new Palestinian Authority elections, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman doubled down on his position that PA President Mahmoud Abbas must go, stating on Thursday that Abbas’ initiatives on the world stage constitute “diplomatic terror”.
On the website of the political party he leads, Yisrael Beiteinu, Lieberman wrote that Abbas has “no legitimacy” amongst his own people and that even if a deal were struck between Israeli and Palestinian leaders over a two-state solution, the next Palestinian president would not recognize the agreement.
“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,” Lieberman stated. “They will then say: What he received, we received and now we will start again from scratch.”
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself from Lieberman’s comments after it became public knowledge that the foreign minister called for Palestinian Authority elections in a formal letter to the Quartet. The Quartet constitutes the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, and is the main mediating force behind Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
“The Foreign Minister’s letter does not represent the position of the prime minister or that of the government,” a senior official from Netanyahu’s office said. “The prime minister agrees that Abu Mazen (Abbas) creates difficulties in negotiations but he intends on continuing efforts to promote dialogue with the Palestinians.”
Examples of Abbas’ “diplomatic terror”, according to Lieberman, include accusing Israel of being an apartheid state, calling for the boycott of Israeli goods, filing war crimes charges against the IDF at The Hague, and naming Palestinian squares after known terrorists responsible for hundreds of deaths.
“All of these are examples of blatant diplomatic terror that is led by Abu Mazen himself,” Lieberman wrote.
The foreign minister, who holds significant sway inside Israel’s Knesset (parliament) with the third largest number of seats, wrote on Thursday that Israel must lead in it’s initiatives and not simply react to the ideas of others.
He did no elaborate on what these initiatives should be.