Lieberman Slams Plan to Involve Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza

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Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is opposed to integrating Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas into any arrangement in the Gaza Strip following the cease-fire. Lieberman presented this stance at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on Monday, a senior Israeli official said.

"To think of Abu Mazen [Abbas] as an ally in the Gaza Strip is a serious mistake," Lieberman said during the meeting. "Abu Mazen may act against Hamas in Gaza, but he also acts against us in the international forums. It is he who pushed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to establish a commission of inquiry and he who is pushing for processes against us in the UN Security Council in New York."

Lieberman's remarks surprised many of the MKs present, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon two weeks ago appeared before the committee with a completely opposite message.

Ya'alon emphasized that Israel wanted the Palestinian president's forces deployed at the Gaza borders, particular at the Rafah crossing with Egypt. That arrangement was to be part and parcel of any cease-fire agreement to end Operation Protective Edge.

Two of the Knesset members who participated in that meeting said that Ya'alon had stressed that it was Egypt demanding the returned presence of Abbas' forces at the border crossings, and that Israel supported the move. "We won't agree to recognize a unity government," Ya'alon said. "But different arrangements like control of the crossings is something we can accept. Abbas will control the crossings, but he won't control Gaza itself."

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