JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asked countries working for Israeli-Palestinian peace to call for new elections to remove Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from office.
The letter, sent to the Mideast Quartet — the grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations that guides the Middle East peace process — also called Abbas "an obstacle to peace."
Palestinian elections were scheduled for 2010 but have continued to be postponed. Talks between Israel and the PA have been stalled for nearly two years.
Lieberman outlined the positive, confidence-building steps that Israel has taken toward the Palestinians in recent weeks in order to bring the PA back to the negotiating table, but said that these gestures – including reducing roadblocks in the West Bank down to 10, advancing tax collection money and returning the remains of Palestinian terrorists – have been met with "a rise in the Palestinian activity against Israel in the diplomatic and legal arenas."
"We do not see any willingness or positive attitude on the part of the PA," Lieberman wrote.
Lieberman said that "general elections in the PA should be held, and a new, legitimate hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership should be elected."
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement to several Israeli media outlets after publicity on the letter, saying that it does not represent the position of the prime minister or the government and that it is not Israel’s policy to involve itself in the elections of other places.