The head of the Zionist Union faction, Avi Gabbay, on Monday slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over a speech he had made denouncing Israel as a colonial plot devoid of Jewish elements, urging that Israel ignore what the Palestinians are saying and focus on separating from them instead.
At a meeting in the Knesset of the Zionist Union faction, Gabbay said Abbas’s comments were “serious, false, and have anti-Semitic fictions.”
In an address he gave the night before to a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah, Abbas asserted that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” to safeguard European interests. He also implied that European Jews during the Holocaust chose to suffer “murder and slaughter” over emigration to British-held Palestine.
“We must not be confused and we must not focus on what the Palestinians say,” Gabbay told his faction. “Separation from the Palestinians is our interest.”
Gabbay warned that the alternative to a two-state solution would see Israel add two million Palestinians to the country with the added burden of administering the lives of another two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Referring to accusations by Israeli and Palestinian leaders who blame each other for the failure to reach a peace deal, Gabbay said “we and the Palestinians both need leaders who want to build trust between them and not deal with what the world says about them and certainly not an accusation game that doesn’t lead to anything.”
MK Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua party, part of the Zionist Union together with Gabbay’s Labor party, said “Abbas’s false speech won’t change the Zionist history and he must not define our future.”
“Israel rose up even though the Arabs didn’t want it, and Israel needs to be innovative in order to remain a country for the Jewish people, without annexing millions of Palestinians — whether Abbas wants it or not,” she said. “The speech yesterday means we, as Israelis, must be dedicated to our goal and the right strategy, in order that we can divorce from the Palestinians. This requires leaders and not ministers who are commentators.”
The PA leader delivered a mini-lecture on his understanding of the history of Zionism on Sunday, claiming the Jewish state deliberately stirred trouble in Arab countries in order to forcibly move Middle Eastern Jews into the sparsely populated nascent state.
Abbas, in his address, made no mention of the Jews’ historic presence and periods of sovereignty in the holy land. Israel is the only place where the Jews have ever been sovereign or sought sovereignty.
In response to the address, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Monday that Abbas had “lost his senses.”