The Palestinian Authority lashed out at Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman Wednesday, following the publication of a letter Liberman sent to the Middle East Quartet calling for the replacement, through elections, of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. A Fatah official urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire Liberman over the affair.
The Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement that “Liberman’s comments cannot hide the terrorist acts against Palestinian civilians,” and called the Israeli government’s initial silence on the letter “government cover for the statements of the criminal Liberman.”
The Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday issued a statement distancing itself from the foreign minister’s position and asserting that it does not represent the government’s view.
‘If Israel is serious about the peace process, it should get rid of these kinds of personalities who care nothing but speaking the language of the mafia’
Criticism of Liberman also came from the ranks of Fatah, Abbas’s political party. Azzam Al-Ahmad, a Fatah official, called on the Israeli leadership to sack Liberman. “If Israel is serious about the peace process, it should get rid of these kinds of personalities who care nothing but speaking the language of the mafia,” Ahmad told Ma’an news agency.
Liberman recently sent a letter to his counterparts in Russia, the US, the EU and the UN urging them to pressure the PA into holding elections in the West Bank, which — he hoped — would oust Abbas.
“Mr. Mahmoud Abbas’ unfortunate behavior indicates that he apparently is uninterested or unable… to reach an agreement which would bring an end to the conflict,” Liberman wrote. “Despite Mr. Abbas’s delays, general elections in the PA should be held, and a new, legitimate, hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership should be elected.”
Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu-Rudeineh told Ma’an that Liberman’s letter constituted incitement to violence, and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly denounce it.
Hours later, an unnamed official in Netanyahu’s office said that the prime minister rejects the content of his foreign minister’s letter, noting that the letter “does not represent the position of the prime minister or the government.”
Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu-Rudeineh told Ma’an that Lieberman’s letter constituted incitement to violence
“The prime minister agrees that Abu Mazen [Abbas] poses difficulties to the negotiations, but he intends to continue his efforts to advance dialogue with the Palestinians,” the official said, adding that “Israel does not intervene in elections elsewhere.”
Abbas’s presidential term legally ended in 2010, but new elections have been postponed numerous times, the Israeli foreign minister noted in his letter.
Hamas, Abbas’s political rival which has repeatedly questioned his legitimacy to rule, remained tight-lipped on Wednesday with no official comments on the matter.