Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has criticised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that he is no longer a partner for peace and that Israel will not reach any agreement with him. Speaking to Channel 2, the right-wing minister also hinted that Israel maintains a secret channel of communication in order to bypass Abbas.
In an interview on Saturday the minister revealed that he has submitted an alternative plan for the stalled peace talks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry but refused to disclose details of the plan at this stage.
His “secret channel of communication” has been with people close to Abbas who oppose his politics and he suggested that the alternative to the president are Palestinian businessmen who are disturbed by his corruption and the corruption of his children, and who also do not want to live under a Hamas government. Lieberman said that the alternative channel is the price Abbas has to pay for his “interference” in Israel’s internal affairs; the president has met with Israeli opposition politicians and businessmen.
When asked about the identity of the people whom Israel prefers to succeed Abbas, and whether disgraced Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan is among them, Lieberman refused to answer. He claimed that he does not know all of the people involved in this game.
Lieberman accused Abbas of supporting “terrorism” and encouraging it by paying very high salaries for the murderers of Israelis while he pays humble salaries to his security services personnel. “Abbas pays Israeli-killers who spent decades in Israeli jails ten thousand shekels a month, while he only pays the Palestinian security elements an average of 2700 NIS,” he alleged.
Among other outrageous claims lacking any meaningful context, Lieberman said that Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip and returned to the borders of June 6, 1967 and received in return 17,000 rockets, a number of which landed in the heart of Israel. He noted that Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the United States were mistaken to allow Hamas to enter the elections in 2006. Hamas, of course, won those free and fair elections but the result was not accepted by Israel and its Western supporters. An illegal siege of the Gaza Strip has been in place since 2006 as a form of collective punishment of the people for voting for “the wrong side”.