Israel's Lieberman urges vote so Abbas can be ousted
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. AFP photoIsraeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called on the Middle East peacemaking Quartet to force elections on Palestinians in a bid to oust president Mahmud Abbas and revitalise the dormant peace process. In a letter sent on Tuesday to the Quartet's top diplomats, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, Lieberman said that Abbas "apparently is uninterested or unable... to reach an agreement which would bring an end to the conflict." "The time has come to consider a creative solution, to think 'outside the box,' in order to strengthen the Palestinian leadership," wrote Lieberman.
"General elections in the PA (Palestinian Authority) should be held, and a new, legitimate, hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership should be elected." Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold since September 2010 following an intractable dispute over settlements, and Quartet efforts to bring the two sides closer together have so far led nowhere.
In the letter, Lieberman said Israel had made "several significant gestures" to the PA, including efforts to boost its economy, an agreement to employ more Palestinian construction workers in Israel and reducing the number of roadblocks in the West Bank.
"Unfortunately, despite these steps, we do not see any willingness or positive attitude on the part of the PA," Lieberman wrote to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. To Lieberman, the standstill in talks could be resolved through the "creative solution" of internal Palestinian elections.