MK Lieberman: Netanyahu holding secret negotiations with Abbas
Yisrael Beytenu Chairperson MK Avigdor Lieberman claimed in a Thursday interview that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding secret negotiations with Palestinian chairman Mahmoud Abbas. According to Lieberman, who is not currently a member of the coalition, Netanyahu has been concealing these negotiations from the Security Cabinet.
There are several strange signs in the field, which I interpret as an attempt by the Prime Minister to hide the negotiations with (Abbas) from the Cabinet,” Lieberman said. “We suddenly saw two weeks ago that the Prime Minister is willing to clear his entire schedule for a meeting with (Abbas). We see that, in magical fashion, the argument between the Israeli Electric Corporation and the Palestinian Authority over debts has been resolved, and all of the power outages have suddenly evaporated.”
Lieberman claims that the Palestinians’ main demand in these alleged secret negotiations is the halting of all IDF activity in A areas. “There are negotiations over the whether the actual meeting will take place. I estimate that Netanyahu and (Abbas) have been exchanging papers, (which) on one hand contain Palestinian demands, and on the other contain all sorts of Israeli promises.”
Lieberman also finds a connection between the supposed negotiations and rumors about a possible alliance between the Zionist Union and Likud parties, which would significantly expand the coalition government. “Netanyahu was counting on (Zionist Union leader MK Isaac) Herzog bringing it with him as a dowry, and into the coalition,” he said, “The coalition expansion project has ended for now, and so it’s unclear how Netanyahu will maneuver in the coming days.
The Yisrael Beytenu party Chairperson said that more information may come after Abbas’ visit to New York. “Then we will be able to know if they reached all sorts of understandings, or if Netanyahu, due to an inability to expand the coalition, has dropped all of the promises and stately negotiations.”
Lieberman also attacked the PM, saying, “It’s not good for Israel’s message. On one hand Netanyahu blames (Abbas) for being the chief inciter, and on the other he’s willing to clear his schedule to meet him. This is a confused and contradictory message and you can’t convince (anyone with it), not the international community and not the citizens of Israel. Besides, we’re talking, as always, about Israeli concessions first. We haven’t seen demands that (Abbas), for instance, condemn terror attacks against Israeli civilians. (Abbas) has backed all terror attacks up to no so it’s tough for me to see something positive for us about those negotiations that are probably taking place at the moment.”
Following IDF officials’ concerns about an escalation in terror leading up to Passover, Lieberman called for public officials to avoid provocations. “I certainly hope that all political actors behave responsibly. We have no interest in an escalation, we have no interest in provocation, it’s unneeded, and we all hope that the holidays pass quietly and the people of Israel will be able to celebrate safely,” he said.