Lieberman says PA playing ugly ‘double game’ with Israel 16Nov09 November 17, 2009

by Jonathan Lis  -  Haaretz -  16 November 2009


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday accused the Palestinian Authority of playing an “ugly and double game,” by seeking Israel’s support in crushing Hamas while submitting simultaneous complaints to the international community.

“During Operation Cast Lead, the Palestinian Authority pressured us to crush Hamas,” Lieberman told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “Then, a month later, they submitted a complaint against us to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”

Even before the Goldstone Commission published its damning report about Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, said Lieberman, “there were a thousand complaints against Israel at the ICC, a large number of them encouraged by the PA.

Fatah, which runs the PA, was ousted by Hamas from Gaza in a bloody 2007 coup. Since then, the rival movements have been deeply divided and repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.

With regard to the PA’s suggestion that it would seek international support for a unilateral declaration of statehood, Lieberman said: “Any one-sided Palestinian move will be met with steps of our own.”

“Whoever holds a unilateral policy with complete disregard for past accords,” said Lieberman, “will get the same from us.”

“Breach of accords will not go unanswered,” he said.

According to Lieberman, Israel could not count on the Americans to veto any such Palestinian request to the UN Security Council.

“Nothing is certain when it comes to an American veto, but I think the Americans understand that these policies bury any chance of reaching peace, and I think that the U.S. would also find it uncomfortable to have to deal at the Security Council with recognition of a Palestinian state.”

Lieberman also said he doubted the seriousness of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s declared interest in renewing peace negotiations with Israel.

“[Assad] sends all sorts of signals,” Lieberman told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, pointing specifically to Syria’s continued relations with Iran, the support it gives to Hamas and to the Jihad movement in Damascus.

“Israel says very clearly: We are prepared to discuss peace without preconditions and without edicts,” said the foreign minister. “The Syrians have been offered the chance to join the European Union as an observer, yet of course they rejected that – not because of Israel, but because of their other considerations.”

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