Knesset Ministers on Monday expressed opposing views on Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his plans to have the UN set a timeline demanding Israel withdraw from the 1949 Armistice lines.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) warned that Abbas’s plans pose a threat to the existence of Israel, in comments at the World Summit for Counter-Terrorism, held by IDC Herzliya’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT).
“What Abbas is proposing to Israel is a framework for collective suicide, we must be aware that our very existence is at stake,” warned Steinitz.
Many have noted that if Israel gave in to Abbas’s demands, the current state of Gaza as a terror base for attacks on Israel would serve as a prologue for what can be expected from Judea and Samaria. That danger was clearly illustrated after it was revealed Hamas recently made a failed coup attempt against Abbas in the region.
However, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) appeared not to share Steinitz’s tactical appraisal while speaking at the same conference.
Commenting on Operation Protective Edge, Livni claimed Israel made a mistake by not finishing the operation with a peace agreement.
“Our military force weakened Hamas, but we need to weaken them even more, and a resolving act of diplomacy is what is supposed to replace them from the government,” stated Livni, adding “we must complete the work we started in Gaza.”
Livni, who served as Israel’s negotiator in the nine-month peace talks with the PA that were torpedoed in April when Abbas signed a unity deal with Hamas, echoed the words of Opposition Head Yitzhak Herzog (Labor), who met with Abbas last Friday and called for a resumption of peace talks.
The call was likewise taken up by Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), who supported peace talks at the conference saying “the operation must not end with a temporary ceasefire, during which we will sit and wait for the next time they fire on us.”
While the ministers clashed on whether or not to return to peace talks with the PA, which recently has stepped up rhetoric over a return to terrorism, reports on Monday indicated the Egyptian government offered the PA a state in a large section of Sinai during truce talks.
MKs on the political right embraced the reports on Monday. It is worth noting that while the offer would call on the PA give up its demands for the 1949 Armistice lines, it would also give the PA full autonomy in its cities in Judea and Samaria.