RAMALLAH, October 29 (JMCC) - Right-wing Israeli political figure Dov Weissglas sharply criticized his government for weakening Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in an interview
with The Telegraph
Weissglas, a close adviser to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said that stability in the region was precarious, crediting Abbas with stopping violence against Israel and charging the Netanyahu government with risking those gains.
Israel recently agreed to released over a thousand Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier. The deal with Islamist Hamas was widely seen to have boosted it over rival faction Fateh, which Abbas heads.
Weisglass also pointed to recent Israeli diplomatic measures intended to punish Abbas and the Palestinian Authority for seeking statehood at the United Nations, a move he saw as ill-fated but relatively innocuous.
I believe the policy of the present government of weakening the PA, if adopted, is both stupid and dangerous, he said in an interview. I would not punish the Palestinians for approaching the UN.
I think the approach to the UN was a mistake, simply an unproductive measure, but I prefer Palestinian resistance in diplomatic measures than in other modes.
Mr Weissglas accused Mr Netanyahu of squandering chances for peace with the Palestinians.
Short memories in Israel failed to give Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the PA, and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, credit for bringing terrorism under control. I know the efforts they made, how difficult it was to stand up to speak loudly and clearly against terrorism when it was very unpopular in Palestine, he said. To say that in 2003 needed a hell of a lot of courage.
Weissglas also criticized Netanyahu for not conducting negotiations with Abbas. In 2004, however, he gave an interview in which he described Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as formaldehyde intended to freeze the peace process with Palestinians.