Saturday, November 18, 2006

I-52 Olmert - Liberman - to take back Gaza, Israeli official says

Take back Gaza, Israeli official says RAMALLAH, West Bank - Israel should ignore moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, wipe out the Hamas leadership and walk away from the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan, Israel's new deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said Saturday.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert forged an alliance with Lieberman, one of Israel's most divisive politicians, last month to shore up his shaky coalition. The appointment of Lieberman as minister of strategic affairs raised concern that Olmert's government, weakened by the summer's war in Lebanon, would freeze all peace efforts.

"We have a reliable partner there which is Jordan," he said. "We have to coordinate with Jordan. We have to say that Abbas is simply not relevant, we have to ignore him ... He has no authority, no power."

Israel also needs to get tougher with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups, particularly their leaders, Lieberman said. "I see the entire leadership of Hamas and Jihad walking around freely, and it's continuing to incite," he told the radio. "They ... have to disappear, to go to paradise, all of them, and there can't be any compromise."

UPDATES '06 Nov 18
Israeli official: Kill Hamas leaders JERUSALEM -
Israel's deputy prime minister on Saturday said Israel should assassinate Hamas' leadership, ignore the moderate Palestinian president and walk away from international peace efforts, the latest in a string of hard-line positions voiced by the newest member of the Cabinet..... The comments by Avigdor Lieberman came as the rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, continued talks on forming a unity government. President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah hopes the coalition deal will enable him to revive peace efforts with Israel.


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