After Ramallah Threats |

Lieberman: Only Abbas' Resignation Could Renew Negotiations With Israel

Following the Palestinian president's remarks to Haaretz that if stalemate continues, Netanyahu can take back the keys to the West Bank, Lieberman responds, 'We are eagerly anticipating Abbas.' resignation.'

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

If Mahmoud Abbas remains in power, Hamas and other extreme Palestinian factions would eventually come to power in the West Bank, and a return to diplomatic negotiations will only be possible after Abbas steps down, former foreign minister and Yisrael Beiteinu chair Avigdor Lieberman said on Friday.

Lieberman's remarks came as a response to an interview with the Palestinian leader, who told Haaretz that if the stalemate in negotiations continues after the Israeli election, and if construction in the settlements doesn’t stop, he would dismantle the Palestinian Authority and ask Israel to resume full control over the West Bank.

"We are congratulating Abu Mazen [Abbas] for reaching the correct conclusion, that only after his disappearance from the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, it will be possible to renew the diplomatic process," Lieberman said in a statement.

MK Lieberman continued: "We are eagerly anticipating a formal announcement issued by Abbas' office regarding his retirement," saying that there are many alternatives to the Palestinian president.

"Abbas remaining in power," Lieberman said, "is precisely what will eventually bring Hamas and other radical Palestinian factions to power, as occurred in Gaza."

Tzipi Livni, former opposition leader and current head of political party Hatnuah responded, saying that the dream of Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett that the PA will return to Israeli control is the nightmare of anyone who wants to see Israel as a Jewish and democratic state that is connected to the world.

In the interview to Haaretz on Thursday, Abbas said: "If there is no progress even after the election I will take the phone and call [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu," Abbas said. "I'll tell him, 'my dear friend, Mr. Netanyahu, I am inviting you to the Muqata [the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah]. Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority."

"Once the new government in Israel is in place," he said, "Netanyahu will have to decide -- yes or no."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud AbbasCredit: AP
Former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks at conference for young members of his Yisrael Beiteinu party in Tel Aviv, December 13, 2012.Credit: Reuters

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