Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday Israel cannot sit idly by as the Palestinian Authority plans a unilateral diplomatic campaign after the American elections in November.
His comment was made in reference to the FM’s letter last month, attacking Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose policies he labeled “an obstacle to peace.”
The letter, as was first published in Haaretz, was sent to the members of the Quartet of Middle East mediators – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In the missive, Lieberman described the PA as a “dictatorial government riddled with corruption” and labeled Abbas’ policies as an “obstacle to peace.” Lieberman proposed holding new elections in the PA to bring forward a Palestinian leadership that would be “more legitimate and realistic.”
Speaking to members of his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, Lieberman rejected on Tuesday claims by the media that the attack on Abbas was politically motivated and was mainly intended to garner support ahead of the next Israeli election. Lieberman said he found these comments "laughable."
"There is no way we should just sit around and respond to their move. I don't intend to sit around and wait," Lieberman said.
In his speech at his party’s Rosh Hashanah toast, the foreign minister continued with his assault, delineating the many things Israel has done for the PA, such as the signing of a new economic treaty with the Palestinians and the approval of new construction projects in the West Bank. According to Lieberman, the Palestinians have not been responding positively to these gestures.
Lieberman cited the fact that the PA provided stipends to terrorists and convicted murderers of Israelis as a genuine sign that the Palestinians were inciting terrorism against Israelis.
On the subject of Iran, Lieberman said that “if Iran obtains proven nuclear capabilities, it would mean the collapse of all previous understandings and treaties regarding the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. At that moment, an insane crazy arms race will sweep the Middle East.”
According to Lieberman, Iran has no need of peaceful nuclear technology as it has large reserves of natural gas and oil.
“What we must explain better to every Israeli citizen is that an Israeli government that includes Yisrael Beiteinu is far more determined, serious and willing to defend the interests of the State of Israel and its citizens,” Lieberman told his party members.
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