The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has requested UN protection for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, following statements made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman which it considers explicit threats on his life.
In an interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz following Abbas’s bellicose speech at the UN last week, Liberman blasted Abbas for his bid to achieve UN recognition of Palestinian statehood, calling the Palestinian Authority “the biggest obstacle to peace.”
“We condemn these explicit calls for killing and assassination,” read the Palestinian Foreign Ministry statements, published Tuesday by the Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat and sent as a letter to the UN, the United States, and the other parties in the Middle East Quartet — the EU and Russia.
“We place full responsibility for Liberman’s position on the Israeli government.”
Unnamed Palestinian security sources told A-Sharq Al-Awsat that Israeli talk of replacing Abbas raised real concerns for his life.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak condemned Liberman’s stance in press interviews Sunday, saying that the only political alternative to Abbas in the West Bank was Hamas.
Many in the Arab world believe Abbas’s predecessor, former PLO head and PA president Yasser Arafat, was killed by Israel, a contention Israel vociferously denies.