Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Tel Aviv would annul previous peace accords with Palestinians if they decide to go ahead with plans to unilaterally declare an independent state.
Speaking to Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Tuesday, Lieberman threatened Palestinians that such a move could prompt Israel to annex parts of the West Bank and revoke 1990s Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements.
"Any unilateral decision will release us from all of our commitments and will allow us also to make unilateral decisions," Lieberman said. "For example, imposing Israeli sovereignty on certain areas, cutting off all kinds of ties and transfers of money and a string of benefits and agreements put into place since the (peace) accords."
Lieberman’s remarks came in reaction to an announcement made by acting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad about plans to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state — possibly as early as 2011 and even without a peace deal.
The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem (al-Quds) as part of their future state. The areas were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
The Palestinians have called on Israel to halt all settlement construction in the two areas before peace talks can resume.
However, addressing the thorny issue of settlements in Jerusalem al-Quds, Lieberman said Israel would never agree to halt construction in the region.
"I think we have to make clear to Obama that we are not only not freezing construction in Jerusalem, but after the 10-month freeze we will go back to building," he said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the hardline Israeli politician whose harsh tone has earned him critics both inside and outside Israel criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his stance regarding Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.
Lieberman said Erdogan should deal with Turkey’s internal issues such as ”problems with the Kurds” rather than ”preach” to Israel.
Ankara has repeatedly censured Tel Aviv particularly over the regime’s last offensive into Gaza which killed more than 1400 Palestinians and injured many others — a large number of them civilians including women and children.