MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid) said on Monday that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was “a rival”.
The comments were in response to Abbas’s threat to turn to the international community to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw back to the pre-1967 borders and make way for an independent Palestinian state.
"Abbas is not a friend, Abbas is the rival, and the battle against the rival happens in many fronts," Shelah said in an interview with the Judea and Samaria based Galey Israel radio station.
At the same time, he said, "To Abbas’s credit, I have many things to say against him, but to his credit I will say that Abbas has always believed, even in the darkest days of our war on terror, Abbas from the Palestinian side has always believed in a political struggle and not in terrorism and we have to deal with this political struggle.”
Responding directly to Abbas's initiative to force Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, Shelah said, "Someone will impose something on us? Even someone like me who believes in a withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders with land swaps, does not want it to happen by force. So we need to deal with it, and we will.”
Shelah has in the past slammed the Israeli settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, claiming that the communities in this region are an obstacle to peace and attacking the “Israeli occupation” of lands liberated during the 1967 Six Day War.
Another Yesh Atid MK, Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, has said that “isolated settlements should be dismantled right now, without waiting for peace negotiations."