Liberman bars PA liaison from Israel for ‘subversive’ behavior

Defense minister does not detail exact offenses of Muhammad Al-Madani, but has backing of Shin Bet security service

Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Al-Madani (Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)
Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Al-Madani (Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman revoked the entry permit for the Palestinian Authority’s liaison to Israel for what were described as “subversive” activities.

The ban on Muhammad Al-Madani, who is also an aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, has the support of the Shin Bet security service, the Ynet news website reported Wednesday.

“A foreign diplomatic official who is trying to intervene in political life in Israel is illegitimate,” Liberman said, without giving any further details.

Al-Madani’s Fatah party responded to the decision saying that Liberman’s statements reflected the Israeli government’s rejection of efforts towards peace and coexistence.

“If partnership between Israeli Jews and Arabs in Israeli political life causes Liberman such frustration and anger, this reflects how far the current Israel is from any attempt to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region, especially since the decision of Liberman came two days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his rejection of the Arab peace initiative,” a statement published in Arabic on Fatah’s official Facebook page read.

“The current government in Israel is a government of war in every sense of the word and not a government of peace,” the statement ended.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry last month criticized the decision to make Liberman defense minister, saying his inclusion in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would confirm “the lack of a peace partner in Israel.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during an Israel Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset on June 6, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at an Israel Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset on June 6, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The development “does not surprise,” the PA ministry said. “Whoever follows daily the procedures and violations carried out by the extremist Netanyahu government against the Palestinian people, [sees] the racist, radical and violent nature of the politics of the Netanyahu government since day one.

“The inclusion of Liberman, known for his extreme right-wing stance toward the Palestinians, is new evidence that Netanyahu, as usual, has preferred to promote extremism in his government, which has become, as described by the Hebrew media, the most extreme government in Israel’s history.”

A Palestinian official also said that Liberman as defense minister would be a “disaster” for Palestinians. The dislike of Liberman was so great, the official said, that he was a “unifying factor for Palestinians.”

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