In meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told his international counterparts that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was the biggest obstacle to a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
Speaking with the foreign ministers of Russia, France and Spain, among others, Liberman focused his criticism on Abbas’s 30-minute UN speech on Thursday, which accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and planning a new “nakba,” or catastrophe, for the Palestinians.
According to a statement issued by Liberman’s office, the foreign minister told diplomats, “As long as Abbas continues to hold office, there is no chance that Israelis and Palestinians will come to an agreement.” He added that “Abbas is the main and biggest obstacle currently facing the peace process.”
Liberman noted the Israeli government had recently transferred funds to the PA, effectively saving it from financial collapse.
“But that didn’t prevent Abbas from delivering a speech full of slander and incitement against Israel, a speech that we would have expected to hear from the leaders of Iran or Hamas,” Liberman reportedly told counterparts.
In meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Abbas reportedly said that he was tired and wanted to step back from public life, and that he had asked Palestinian officials to replace him.