Photo: Motti Kimchi
Lieberman at the Herzliya Conference
Photo: Motti Kimchi

Lieberman: Abbas is trying to drag Hamas to war with Israel

Defense minister asserts that by reducing electricity to the strip and putting pressure on Hamas, the Palestinian president is trying to spark a conflict between Gaza and Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday of increasing pressure on Hamas in the Gaza Strip to "drag it to war with Israel."



Lieberman, who spoke at the Herzliya Conference, warned that "the situation in Gaza can't last forever."


"This is an internal Palestinian crisis that's not going to end," he said of Abbas's decision to pay less for electricity to the strip, leaving Israel no choice but to reduce the electricity it provides Gaza, thus exacerbating the crisis.


Lieberman at the Herzliya Conference (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Lieberman at the Herzliya Conference (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


"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: Hurt Hamas and drag it to war with Israel. Abbas is doing this unilaterally, without having coordinated with Israel or Egypt," Lieberman said.


Regardless, he stressed, Israel "has no intention to go to war—not in the north, nor in the south... we're leading a clear policy against Gaza, without trailing behind."


He also spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying a solution can only come as part of "a full regional agreement with all moderate Sunni states, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, when the agreement with the Palestinians is a byproduct of that. An agreement between Israel and the moderate Sunni states will bring $45 billion to the State of Israel."


Lieberman went on to say that "The Palestinians don't have the ability to sign an agreement with Israel on their own."


Electricity shortages in Gaza (Photo: AFP)  (Photo: AFP)
Electricity shortages in Gaza (Photo: AFP)


He rejected the Oslo Accords, saying the "basic principle of 'lands for peace' is wrong. The guiding principle must be land and population exchanges."


He also rejected former prime minister Ehud Olmert's peace efforts, saying "You couldn't offer the Palestinians more than what Olmer offered in Annapolis, and Abbas refused to sign that in the end. I felt sick by what Olmert offered—a prime minister would never offer that."


Turning his sights north, the defense minister said Israel only acts in Syria "when there's a ticking time bomb leading to a terror attack, and we work to thwart it; or when we come under fire; or when there's an attempt to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah."


Lieberman argued Hezbollah "was taking advantage of the situation in Syria to open a front against us in the Golan and to smuggle advanced weapons systems, so it can establish itself on the border against us."


With that in mind, he sent a message to the Syrian regime, saying it would "bear the responsibility for that. The Damascus International Airport cannot be used as a smuggling channel for Hezbollah. When (the situation) reaches a certain line, we won't hesitate to act."


The defense minister went on to say that while he hoped "the US and Russia reach good agreements on Syria, it won't affect our freedom of action in the north."


פרסום ראשון: 06.22.17, 10:46
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