Minister Lieberman: Kill Hamas Leadership, Deal With Jordan

Yisrael Beiteinu Party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, the newest government minister, has called for discarding the US-backed Road Map plan, ignoring Mahmoud Abbas and killing the Hamas leadership.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 8:30 PM

Speaking with Israel Radio over the weekend, Lieberman outlined his vision for the steps Israel must take. He asserted that the Palestinian Authority’s Arabs are not interested in setting up a state, but in destroying Israel "in the service of international Jihad.” Lieberman said that to ensure its survival, Israel must reject all past agreements and current interim proposals, from the failed Oslo Accords to the unimplemented US Road Map to Peace.

"Continued commitment to Oslo and to the Road Map will lead us to another round of conflict - a much bloodier round,” Lieberman said. “And in the end we will be in an even worse dead-end position that threatens our very existence in the future."

Lieberman dismissed efforts to empower Fatah chief and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), whose group was trounced by the Islamist Hamas in the PA’s parliamentary elections. The newly appointed Minister of Strategic Threats said Israel should instead develop closer coordination with the Hashemite rulers of Jordan regarding administrating the Arab areas of Judea and Samaria.

“We have always targeted the wrong places and taken care not to speak with the right people. We are seeking a reliable partner and that only exists in Jordan right now. We have to coordinate with Jordan and say that Abbas is simply not relevant. We must ignore him. He has no authority and no power."

The Hashemite regime in Jordan is increasingly nervous that it will be overthrown by Islamist groups such as Hamas, which enjoy massive support among Jordan’s populace, a majority of whom consider themselves "Palestinian."

Lieberman flat-out called for the liquidation of the entire leadership of Hamas. "All the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad walk around freely, inciting violence. They have got to disappear - to be send to paradise, all of them. There can't be any compromise."

“There is no point in targeting refugee camps or Beit Hanoun,” he added. “Those people, who live on ten shekels a day, have nothing to lose. When they are killed, they volunteer gladly. We have to focus on those who have something to lose - the leaders of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.”

Lieberman stopped short of calling for the complete retaking of Gaza, let alone resettlement of its destroyed Jewish towns, but did demand that Israel reassert sovereignty over the Gaza-Egypt border in order to stop massive weapons smuggling.

"We have heard about the smuggling of tons of weapons, missiles and hundreds of millions of dollars into Gaza - the fuel driving this entire war," he said. "They have all failed - the international observers sitting at the Rafiah crossing and the Egyptians [who are supposed to prevent smuggling from the Egyptian side of the border]."

Lieberman said he hopes his entry into the government can finally signal an end to the repetition of the mistakes of Oslo. “We must learn our lessons from Oslo, from leaving Gaza, from what happened following the disengagement,” he concluded. “Without those lessons, moving on is impossible.”

Left-wing Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Beilin demanded that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert fire Lieberman for his statements. “If [Olmert] doesn’t do so,” Beilin said, “Lieberman’s statement become the statements of the entire government.”

Some of Lieberman’s statements, at least, drew support from fellow government member MK Matan Vilnai (Labor), who echoed the call to target members of the Hamas government.

Fellow Labor MK Ophir Pines - former Minister of Science, Technology, Culture, and Sports, who quit the government over Lieberman’s entry - issued a statement shortly afterwards declaring that if voted chairman of the party in next year's party elections, he would issue Olmert an ultimatum: “Either us or Lieberman.”