Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has demanded that his government cuts off links with the Palestinian Authority. His call is a response to the PA’s intention to ask for UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state in September. According to Israeli media, the far-right minister made his demand at a cabinet meeting where, among other issues, he called for an end to cooperation with the PA on security matters, political activity, water committees and diplomatic relations.
Lieberman accused the PA of preparing for unprecedented “bloodshed” in September. “When you are preparing a march of tens of thousands on the checkpoint at A-Ram or Kalandiya [both north of Jerusalem], when you call on the public to go to the checkpoints and pass through them without being checked, in such large numbers, it is clear that there will be hotheads who will use violence, and it is possible to imagine what will happen, and what impact they are trying to make,” he said. His remarks came even though a report in Haaretz newspaper claimed that the Palestinian Authority “has ordered its security forces to prevent demonstrations planned for September from escalating into violent confrontations with Israel, especially in potential friction points like the roadblocks and settlements.”
Senior Palestinian and Israeli security officials told Haaretz that agreement has been reached not to allow the eruption of any “violent” Palestinian demonstrations next month, and that the PA issued orders to the Palestinian security forces in recent weeks to work toward that end. The PA is intent on allowing peaceful demonstrations, however. The IDF, meanwhile, is preparing for the worst, and plans to deploy large forces across the West Bank, using reservists if necessary.