Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday denied reports that he threatened to dismantle Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition govenrment if Israel did not “punish” the Palestinians for requesting United Nations recognition of statehood.
According to the report published in Yedioth Ahronoth, Lieberman called for the annulment of the 1993 Oslo Accords, the annexation of Israel's settlement blocs in the West Bank and the halting of funds to the Palestinian Authority in the event that they receive recognition.
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Lieberman adamantly denied making any such statement. “Whatever I have to say, I say publically and not behind closed doors,” said the foreign minister, adding “I think that stories about dissolving the coalition on the day of the opening of the UN vote are out of line.”
The foreign minister said that the Palestinian bid for statehood would not go without an Israeli reaction.
“We will initiate our own actions in response to unilateral steps," Lieberman said. "We have enough tools at our disposal and enough options for action.”
Lieberman, who is currently in New York, said that Israel has a realistic chance of persuading the UN Security Council to reject the Palestinian bid without needing a U.S. veto.
“After a period in which all resolutions to do with us [Israel] were to our detriment in the Security Council, we now have a realistic chance,” Lieberman said, adding “talks with Bosnia and Gabon have been going on for some time.”
The foreign minister stressed that Israel would not accept any preconditions for resuming negotiations with the Palestinians, saying there will not be a settlement freeze, “even for one day”.
Lieberman said that Israel “thinks there is a place for negotiations, but only if Abbas agrees to talks without preconditions. It is impossible to solve the problem through unilateral actions.”
He claimed that the best move at this stage would be to come together and meet, adding that “any unilateral steps will just complicate the situation.”
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