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Israeli Foreign Minister Says Abbas Should Quit

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the “greatest obstacle” to regional order, telling reporters in Jerusalem it would be a “blessing” if the Palestinian leader were to resign.

“If there is one obstacle that should be removed immediately, it is Abu Mazen [Abbas,” he said. “If he were to return the keys and resign, it would not be a threat, but a blessing.”

“The only thing that interests Abu Mazen is to inscribe himself in the history books as he who brought about the Palestinian state and the reconciliation with Abbas,” Lieberman added. “Anyone who succeeds him would be better for Israel. If Abu Mazen goes, there would be a chance to reignite the peace process.”

Referring to the report in Haaretz earlier Monday regarding the defense establishment’s recommendation that Israel release Fatah prisoners as a gesture to Abbas, Lieberman said he had never heard of such a proposal and would oppose the move vehemently.

“I don’t know of any such recommendation, and I completely oppose every gesture,” he said. “I would not agree in any way if recommendations such as these were brought to cabinet.”

Lieberman added that there are plenty of Palestinian with whom Israel can hold dialogue, besides Abbas. “There is no lack of Palestinians who studied in the West,” he said, ” educated people with Western values with whom we can talk.”

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