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Lieberman Accuses Abbas of ‘Dragging Hamas to War’ with Israel | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (AFP)

Tel Aviv – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused on Thursday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of prolonging the economic crisis in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

He said that Abbas is “pressuring Hamas in Gaza in order to drag it into a war with Israel.”

He explained that the Palestinian leader will not suffice with cutting the salaries in Gaza, but he will increase the rationing of electricity in the coastal strip.

The Israeli minister also said that Abbas is seeking to cut fuel supplies to Gaza and that he is taking his decisions unilaterally, without consulting Tel Aviv or Egypt.

“He does not want to target Hamas, but he wants to push it to war with Israel,” Lieberman said.

On whether he will carry through with his previous vow to destroy Hamas should such a war erupt, the minister said that he was exaggerating when he made such a statement, saying it was a “mistake” on his part.

Commenting on the possibility of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he doubted that a settlement was possible through bilateral negotiations.

“Peace can only be achieved through a regional settlement,” he noted.

Such a settlement will pump 45 billion dollars into Israel annually, Lieberman stressed without elaborating.

He remarked that the Oslo Accords were doomed to fail from the start because they were based on the “land for peace” policy, when it should have been based on the “land and people exchange” policy.