Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says the Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to topple Hamas in last year’s Gaza war.
According to Lieberman, Abbas urged Israel to topple the Hamas government in Gaza during the Operation Cast Lead campaign last year, then turned around and blamed Israel for war crimes.
"Over the past year, I witnessed Abbas at his best. In Operation Cast Lead, he called us personally, applied pressure and demanded that we topple Hamas and remove it from power," Lieberman told Israel’s Maariv daily.
"A month after the operation ended, he filed a complaint against us with the International Court of Justice at The Hague for war crimes. Is that a partner?" he added.
Lieberman’s remarks were also confirmed by a former close aide to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah, however, vehemently denied the allegation.
“This is not true. It is a continuation of the (Israeli) campaign of defamation … to create an atmosphere that would destroy any chance of salvaging the peace process,” Rdainah told Reuters.
In 2008, Israel launched a large offensive against the coastal strip that killed some 1,400 Palestinians — most of them non-combatants — and a number of Israeli officials face war-crimes charges as a result of the indiscriminate onslaught.