Lieberman accuses Abbas over Israel's Gaza war

Israeli FM Lieberman accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of urging Israel to topple Hamas in the Gaza war last year.

Lieberman accuses Abbas over Israel's Gaza war

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused on Monday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of urging Israel to topple Hamas in the Gaza war last year, then turned around and blamed Israel for war crimes.

"Over the past year, I witnessed (Abbas) at his best. In Operation Cast Lead, (he) called us personally, applied pressure and demanded that we topple Hamas and remove it from power," he told Israel's Maariv daily.

"A month after the operation ended, he filed a complaint against us with the International Court of Justice at The Hague for war crimes. Is that a partner?"

An aide to Abbas vehemently denied the allegation, accusing the right-leaning Israeli government of trying to deepen the deadlock over U.S.-sponsored efforts to revive negotiations.

"This is not true. It is a continuation of the (Israeli) campaign of defamation ... to create an atmosphere that would destroy any chance of salvaging the peace process," Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah said.

Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive in Gaza, killing more than 1434 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded at least 5300.

In its land, sea and ar offensive, Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and government buildings and destroyed infrastructure system in Gaza, lefting Palestinians without electricity, gas and power.

Lieberman was not in government during the Gaza war. A spokesman declined to say on what the foreign minister had based his allegations. But a senior Israeli official serving Olmert at the time said Lieberman's account was "essentially accurate".

Islamist Hamas, which has already accused its rival Abbas of cheering Israel on in the war, saw Lieberman's charge as vindication of its suspicions against the Palestinian president. "The grave statement reaffirms the fact Mahmoud Abbas is no longer fit to represent our people, who conspired against his people during a war," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Hamas won a parliamentary election in January 2006, ending a near-monopoly on power by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its dominant faction, Fatah. The government Hamas formed was subject to a crippling boycott by Western aid donors, leading to a unity government between Hamas and Fatah in 2007.

Abbas joined the condemnation of the Olmert government's Gaza offensive. But he outraged many Palestinians by initially vacillating over support for a U.N. war-crimes report in September that focused scrutiny on Israeli conduct.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mart 2010, 08:00
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