Thursday, June 22, 2017


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will halt all financial payments to Gaza in the future and in so doing push Israel into war with Hamas, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned on Thursday morning as he addressed the annual Herzliya Conference.

“I have no intention of initiating any military activity; not in the summer and not in the fall, not in the South and not in the North. Our objective is to prevent war and the only way to do that is through credible deference,” Liberman said.

He blamed internal Palestinian politics for creating a humanitarian crisis in Gaza such that its 2 million residents are living on less than four hours of electricity a day. 

“We do not have to enter Gaza forcibly, but this crisis is not about to be resolved,” he said.

Israel this week began to reduce what will be a 40% reduction of the 120 MGW of electricity it provides Gaza, a move which leave its residents with two hours of power a day.

Israel did so at Abbas’s request, after he said he would only pay 40% of the bill to the Israel Electricity Company, which is now Gaza's main provider of electricity. Depriving Gaza of electricity is one Abbas’s tactics to weaken the group, so that he can regain control of the Strip decade after Hamas ousted Fatah in a bloody coup.

In the last couple of months Abbas has also stopped sending medication to the Gaza and has cut payments to the governmental employees there.

“This was not a tactic that he [Abbas] plans to use only once,” Liberman said as he warned the situation would get worse.

With regard to the electricity, Abbas “has not made a one time reduction. He will continue to reduce [electricity] payments and to stop playmates all together in a few months both for the fuel and the medicine and payments of [civic salaries],” Liberman said.

Abbas has taken this step unilaterally without consulting Israel, Egypt or Jordan, he said.

“He is saying that we are just trying to weaken Hamas,” Liberman said. But the only logical conclusion is that there is a double strategy here in which Abbas is crippling Hamas also out of a hope that “he will drag Hamas into a conflict with Israel.”

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