Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s call for Palestinian elections to be held and a new leader to be found does not represent the government’s view, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Wednesday.
In a recent letter to the Middle East Quartet — the US the UN, the EU and Russia — Liberman describes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an obstacle to peace and says he should be replaced through elections.
The letter was condemned by the PA, which called on Netanyahu to clarify his stance.
Israel does not interfere in the internal elections of its neighbors, a source in the Prime Minister’s Office told Army Radio. The letter written by Liberman does not reflect the state’s position and Netanyahu did not endorse the message it conveyed, the source said.
Liberman’s letter singled out Abbas as a blockage to any chance for Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement.
Abbas was “uninterested, or unable… to reach an agreement that would bring an end to the conflict, including addressing all the core issues,” Liberman wrote.
Earlier on Wednesday top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had called upon the Israeli government to distance itself from Liberman’s call. “Netanyahu must clarify that [Liberman's letter] is not his position,” Erekat said.
If the prime minister doesn’t make that statement, the Palestinians will look upon the letter “as the government’s position,” Erekat said.
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