Israeli defense minister: Abbas is deliberately stirring tension between Israel and Hamas

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accuses Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas of planning to stop the “transfer of funds to Gaza, including for electricity, water, health and salary payments,” and blame Israel for the resulting crisis, thus sparking clash between Hamas and Israel.

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in Ramallah, Jan. 14, 2018. Photo by Flash90.
Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in Ramallah, Jan. 14, 2018. Photo by Flash90.

Defense officials are directly linking Friday’s car-ramming attack, which killed two Israeli soldiers and seriously wounded two others, to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s policy of three resolute “noes,” first reported last week by Israel Hayom.

According to Abbas’ “three noes” policy, as long as U.S. President Donald Trump does not rescind his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his decision to move the U.S. Embassy there, the Palestinians will steadfastly refuse to take part in diplomatic negotiations and will boycott U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt or any other White House envoy. This will be followed by a “diplomatic intifada” against Israel, and imposing sanctions on Hamas and the Gaza Strip while blaming the humanitarian crisis there on Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Channel 2 on Saturday that Abbas is trying to foster regional hostilities and instability through the policies he has devised since Trump’s declaration.

“What’s especially obvious is Abbas’s attempt to exacerbate the situation and bring about a clash between Hamas and Israel,” he said.

“Abbas is going to stop transferring funds to the Gaza Strip entirely, including electricity, water, health and salary payments. He is exploiting the attack on [P.A. Prime Minister Rami] Hamdallah’s convoy to cease all reconciliation efforts [with Hamas]. The situation is tense. We are witnessing Abbas’s efforts to cause a direct conflict between Israel and Hamas. The moment he stops all the humanitarian payments, the situation will clearly get even worse.”

A senior defense official told Israel Hayom that Abbas is aware his policies could lead to an escalation of violence.

“The defense establishment’s working assumption is that Abbas’ policies since Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem are dangerous, and could have severe regional consequences,” the official said. “Call it a policy of refusal or policy of three noes, there’s no difference. The responsibility falls on Abbas and his lack of desire to conduct any type of dialogue.”

Abbas said recently that he would not conclude his tenure in office with a diplomatic endeavor consisting of any compromise on Jerusalem.

“I will not end my life with an act of treason,” he told the P.A. leadership last week in Ramallah. Senior P.A. officials said Abbas’ policy of three noes essentially forms the basis for the policy line he wishes to pass on to the next generation of leaders in Ramallah.

Said the official: “It will be impossible to make concessions on our red lines, which call for an independent Palestinian state whose capital is east Jerusalem and a just resolution for the right of return [for refugees].”

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