Defense Minister Ehud Barak has criticized the remarks of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman against Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Barak’s criticism came in the wake of comments Lieberman made after Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly.
"Lieberman's pronouncements about the PA and its leader do not represent the policy of the State of Israel and harm its interests," Barak was quoted on Sunday as having said in closed meetings. "If Abbas does not rule in Judea and Samaria, as Lieberman wishes, Hamas will rule there instead.”
Barak said that he intends to turn to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and ask him to convene an urgent discussion about Israeli policy towards the Palestinian Authority.
"Security and economic considerations require an entirely different approach to the PA, despite the harsh words of Abbas’ speech at the UN,” he said.
“Israel still has basic interests when it comes to maintaining security in Judea and Samaria," Barak continued. "The area is in a very good situation compared to any other time in the past. This is the result of efficient operations of the IDF and the Shin Bet, but also of the PA security forces and thanks to the economic efforts of [PA Prime Minister] Fayyad and Abbas.”
Lieberman said over the weekend that Israel cannot make peace with the Palestinian Authority while it is led by Abbas.
Lieberman spent his time at the United Nations General Assembly last week meeting with dignitaries from around the world and – despite previous backlash – told them that Abbas is the primary obstacle to peace.
Abbas is uninterested in, and incapable of, providing true leadership, Lieberman accused. Instead, he seeks to use his PA chairmanship to travel the world and incite against Israel, while using Israel as a scapegoat for problems at home, he continued.
Lieberman noted that Israel recently moved to save the PA from financial collapse, a gesture which Abbas repaid with a virulently anti-Israel speech in which he accused Israel of ethnic cleansing in Judea and Samaria.
If the international community truly seeks a treaty between Israel and the PA, it must reject Abbas, he concluded.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)