Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Saturday called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a Hamas operative in disguise on Saturday.
The minister’s critique came a day before the Likud selects its Knesset slate, and the colorful language appeared to underline that campaign season was back in full swing after the eight day Operation Pillar of Defense conflict with Hamas ended last Wednesday.
At a cultural event in the city of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, Erdan said Abbas was a “Hamasnik” disguised in a business suit, noting, “at least his predecessor [Yasser] Arafat wore a uniform.”
The minister claimed that Abbas had congratulated Hamas on firing missiles at civilians and said that he who “encourages incitement in the Palestinian Authority and acts unilaterally in the international arena is a Hamas operative in disguise.”
Erdan was referring to Abbas’s plan to submit a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, asking for an upgrade in status for the PA to a nonmember observer state.
The resolution is expected to pass by a large margin, and once approved, the measure would allow the Palestinian to join several international bodies, including the International Criminal Court. PA officials have threatened to sue Israel at the ICC for alleged crimes related to the occupation of Palestinian lands.
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) also criticized Abbas on Saturday for his upcoming UN bid.
Shalom said Abbas’s push for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state was “a cancellation in practice and a callous violation of the Oslo Accords, which prohibit unilateral measures.”