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Here we go again! Evet Lvovich Lieberman, the Moldavian who became Avigdor Lieberman when in 1978 his religion uniquely qualified him for instantaneous Israeli citizenship, is demanding the ouster of Palestinian president Mahmood Abbas.
In a letter to the Mideast Peace Quartet on August 21st, Israel’s foreign policy chief, who once branded the premise of the Mid-East peace talk as flawed, called Abbas “an obstacle to peace”.
In a clear sign of a dysfunctional government, the Israeli Prime Minister’s (PM) Office issued a statement distancing himself from his foreign minister’s letter saying “it does not represent the position of the prime minister or the government”.
Two days later, speaking to Israeli public radio, unrelenting Lieberman accused Abbas of waging a “diplomatic terror” campaign. The foreign minister was referring to Palestinian initiative for UN recognition of a state on 22% of historical Palestine.
Lieberman’s disingenuous remarks regarding Palestinian election was just another example of Israel’s interminable contrived attempts to distract the international community from the drifting 20 years old peace process.
When Yasser Arafat refused to waiver on fundamental national principles e.g. the rights of refugees and Jerusalem, during Bill Clinton’s theatrical exercises at Camp David in 2000, Israel decided that Palestinians must change their democratically elected president.
To achieve that, Israel laid on March 2002 a long siege on Arafat’s compound. In June the same year, the credulous US president George W Bush went along calling for a new “Palestinian leadership “.
Following the suspicious quick demise of Arafat in 2003, Abbas was elected as the new Palestinian president. At the time, he was described by both Israeli and American leaders as “a pragmatic” and “peace partner”.
For years thereafter, Israel continued to flout America’s Road Map for peace by indulging with impunity in illegal settlement program and erecting an apartheid wall suffocating the fledgling Palestinian economy.
In early 2006, Palestinians held their second open democratic election. In an expression of frustration over the lack of progress on the peace process, Palestinian electorate voted overwhelmingly for Hamas to lead the next Palestinian parliament.
Rejecting the results of Palestinian democracy, Israel cajoled the Mideast Quartet demanding Hamas, not just the Palestinian government, to recognize Israel or face international isolation. Reciprocal recognition of Palestinian rights for a state of their own was never requested from Israeli political parties or governments.
Succumbing to Israeli and international pressure, one year later Abbas deposed the democratically elected government and appointed a new care taker administration.
The peace marathon hit another snag following the election of Benjamin Netanyahu in 2009. The new PM rejected established understandings with his predecessor insisting on resuming negotiation, again, from the start.
Netanyahu who avowed that “Palestinian state must never be established” was elected under the Likud Party charter rejecting “… the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River”.
On the other side, Palestinians have over committed themselves to the process by giving up, ahead of peace talks and without reciprocity, 78% of Palestine.
The spineless Mideast Peace Quartet must stop deluding itself and put an end to Israel’s charade of Sisyphean negotiations and demand all parties to mutually fulfill the same peace stipulations.
Otherwise, they should be prepared to support the Palestinian “diplomatic terror” at the next UN General Assembly meeting.
Absence of Israeli accountability remains the crux of the peace predicament in the region.