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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lieberman: 'Abbas must go'

Using language rarely heard from an Israeli Minister about a 'Palestinian leader' since the death of Yasser Arafat, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has bluntly said that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen must go.
The defense minister views Abbas as a bitter enemy of Israel and says that Abbas’s policies have eliminated any possibility of advancing the peace process.

In the past two weeks, Lieberman has said several times that defense officials meet frequently with West Bank Palestinians, without the involvement or approval of Abbas and his people.

“We’ve met dozens of economists and businessmen from the Palestinian Authority, and when you ask what’s most important for the Palestinian economy, they all reply that the most important thing is to get rid of Abu Mazen,” he said on one such occasion, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “He has imposed a reign of corruption that encompasses everything. He has people in every economic sector — in real estate, the fuel market, the communications market. Abbas’ people take a tithe from every deal, and aside from the people in the inner circle, the PA leadership doesn’t allow anyone there to develop economically.

“That’s why it’s so important for him to go,” Lieberman continued. “As long as Abbas is there, nothing will happen.”

Lieberman said he didn’t think Israel should actively work to end Abbas’ rule, but at the same time, he said, it shouldn’t blame itself for the situation in the West Bank.

“Not everything depends on us,” he said. “As long as the PA’s corrupt and ineffective management continues, the economic situation there won’t improve.”

The defense minister also charged that Abbas rarely visits Nablus and Jenin, the major cities of the northern West Bank, as he prefers to take diplomatic trips abroad. “He doesn’t want to deal with problems of economics and employment,” Lieberman said. “The entire system of management there has failed.”
All of which probably makes 'Abbas' no more corrupt than any other Arab leader. But then other Arab leaders don't lead a 'people' that have a real democracy in their midst as a standard of comparison.

By the way, yes, this could well be the end of the 'peace process.'
Last week, Arab media outlets reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to arrange a diplomatic summit between Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later this year. Netanyahu doesn’t use Lieberman’s blunt language, but he apparently shares the defense minister’s skepticism about the prospects for real diplomatic progress as long as Abbas remains in power. And, like Lieberman, he blames the impasse entirely on the Palestinians.
Those last two sentences are Haaretz whining, but what's more interesting is that the Russians are denying that Putin ever made the suggestion.
Russia supports the Palestinian-Israeli settlement process, but there are no specific agreements on holding a meeting of the sides’ leaders in Moscow, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"There are no specifics on this matter yet," he said, commenting on related reports issued by the Israeli media.
"Moscow maintains rather trust-based and active relations with both the Israelis and Palestinians, but there are no specifics yet," he added.

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