Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday claimed that the Palestinians were planning “bloodshed” for September as they push for UN recognition of an independent state.
“It is clear that the Palestinian Authority is preparing bloodshed and violence the like of which we have never seen,” Lieberman told reporters at a briefing in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
The hardline foreign minister provided no evidence to back his claim but suggested the Palestinians could organise marches to coincide with the UN General Assembly in September.
“It is clear that marches by thousands have one aim, to drag the international community into the Israeli-Arab conflict and to circumvent direct negotiations so that a solution is imposed by the international community,” Lieberman said, speaking in Hebrew.
Lieberman said he would ask ministerial colleagues to back him in seeking to sever cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the administration of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
“It is time (for them) to understand that there is a price,” Lieberman said.
“We should respond not only with words but with actions.”
But Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki denied any violent intent on the Palestinian side and accused Lieberman of seeking to foment unrest.
“The Palestinians don’t need this kind of incitement just because they’re asking for their rights,” he told AFP.
“We believe one hundred percent that any kind of violence will reflect negatively against our demands,” he said.
The Palestinian leadership has drawn up a plan to approach the United Nations in September seeking membership for a state on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day war, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
The plan is firmly opposed by Israel and the United States, which has threatened to veto the membership attempt at the Security Council.
Israel insists that only direct negotiations can achieve a durable peace between the sides.
The Palestinians say their initiative does not contradict the possibility of new talks, but insist that they will not return to negotiations without any Israeli settlement freeze and a clear framework for new discussions.