JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says his nation will continue to coordinate with Palestinian security officials despite a tirade by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday against Israel, President Trump and US policy in the region.
Lieberman told YNet news that Abbas appeared to have "lost his senses" when, during a speech to the PLO Central Council in Ramallah, Abbas declared the Oslo peace accords dead and threatened to "get back at" the US for threats to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority.
Lieberman said Abbas's Palestinian Authority is behind the violent protests against the US plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and, he added, "the Palestinians enjoy the security coordination [with Israel] more than we do."
During his Sunday speech, Abbas blasted President Trump's Middle East peace plan, which has yet to be released. He said the Palestinians would be offered the town of Abu Dis, immediately east of Jerusalem, as a capital. "We told him [Trump] that the deal of the era is the slap of the era...We will repel it." In rejecting Abu Dis, Abbas signaled that he will press ahead with ongoing international efforts to deny any Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
Lieberman said the Palestinian president's defiance is part of a larger plan to gain a diplomatic victory by applying pressure from the rest of the world.
"Abbas doesn't want an agreement with Israel, and his goal is to wear us down in the international arena. He thinks he has an automatic majority in the international arena and his strategy is to wear us down because he knows he doesn't stand a chance in direct confontation," Lieberman added.
Other Israeli leaders also reacted angrily to the Abbas speech. President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement saying in part, "To say Israel is the result of a Western conspiracy to settle Jews in land belonging to Arab populations? To say that the Jewish people has no connection with the land of Israel? He forgot many things and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial."