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Abbas 'Worried About PA's Future' Because of Lieberman

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is worried about the future of his entity because of Foreign Minister Lieberman's "threats", says a PA official.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/28/2012, 5:12 AM

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is worried about the future of his entity, a senior PA official said on Monday.

Speaking to the PA-based Safa news agency, the official said that Abbas is taking seriously the “threats” that were made against him by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The official added that Abbas feels there is a rise in the level of such “threats” against him by Israel.

The official added that Abbas said he was convinced that Lieberman’s statements against him reflect Israel’s intention to take unilateral political steps.

Last week, Lieberman wrote a letter to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, in which he said that Abbas is an obstacle to peace and does not act in the interests of his own people.

Lieberman also wrote that Abbas should be replaced because he "apparently is uninterested or unable... to reach an agreement which would bring an end to the conflict."

The Foreign Minister called for new Palestinian Authority elections, which have been held only once. He also told Ashton that instead of taking positive steps toward speaking with Israel, “He is creating a culture of blaming Israel for delaying the [peace] process, while attempting to achieve advantages without negotiation via blackmailing and ongoing to attempts to internationalize the conflict.”

Safa reported that Abbas’ feeling that Israel is intending to take unilateral steps is strengthened by the fact, as his official said, Israel has been deliberately “ignoring him”. In light of this, and based on the assumption that there is a real danger to the existence of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas has ordered a team of experts to examine possible scenarios in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria, where Abbas’ Fatah faction rules.

On Sunday, Abbas responded to Lieberman’s letter by saying he “doesn’t deserve an answer” and adding, “When he talks about the use of diplomatic terror he does not deserve anything. Everyone knows that we want peace between the two states, and for them to live and stability and security.”

Lieberman responded to Abbas’ remarks by saying the PA Chairman “is busy financing and glorifying terrorists and devotes all his time to political terrorism against Israel.”

The PA official who spoke to Safa ignored Abbas’ own unilateral moves. In September 2011, Abbas applied for full UN membership at the UN Security Council. Israel and the U.S. staunchly opposed the bid, which failed due to a lack of support in the 15-member council.

In yet another unilateral move, the PA now plans to once again turn to the UN for recognition as a state, this time to the General Assembly.

Abbas has also consistently imposed preconditions on talks with Israel, demanding that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as final borders, release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin.

Israel froze construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem for ten months in 2009 at the request of the United States, in an attempt to bring the sides back to the negotiating table. Abbas chose not to resume talks.