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Lieberman accuses Abbas of sparking Hamas-Israel war

June 23, 2017 at 11:10 am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Revolutionary Council Meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 25 May 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

The increasing pressure Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, has placed on Hamas in the Gaza Strip will “drag it into a war with Israel”, Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, warned yesterday.

Speaking at an annual regional security conference held in Israel’s Herzliya, Lieberman said that “the situation in Gaza can’t last forever”, describing Abbas’ policy towards Gaza as a “double strategy”.

On the Gaza electricity crisis, the Israeli minister explained that “this is an internal Palestinian crisis that’s not going to end,” noting that “Abbas is going to increase cuts and soon stop the payment of salaries in Gaza and the transfer of fuel to the Strip as a two-pronged strategy.”

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Abbas, he added, has taken this step “unilaterally”, without coordination with Israel or Egypt.

“I am following a clear strategy, but I can’t speak about a strategy for Gaza, even in the Cabinet, because after one minute I’ll see all of this in the media,” he said.

The minister also stressed that Israel “has no intention to go to war – not in the north, nor in the south,” explaining that “we’re leading a clear policy against Gaza, without trailing behind.”

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On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lieberman reiterated that a solution can only come as part of “a full regional agreement with all moderate Sunni [Arab] states, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, when the agreement with the Palestinians is a byproduct of that.”

He criticised the Oslo Accords, explaining that the reason behind its failure in ending the conflict is because they were based on the principle of “land for peace”, which he described as “wrong”. “The guiding principle must be land and population exchanges,” he stressed.

Lieberman also slammed former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s peace efforts. “We couldn’t offer the Palestinians more than what Olmert offered in Annapolis, and Abbas refused to sign that in the end.”