Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the leading enemy challenging Israel’s existence, said Yuval Steinitz, the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water minister, on Thursday.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Steinitz said that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority seek the destruction of Israel.
The minister from Israel’s leading Likud party charged that Abbas is more hostile toward Israel than his predecessor Yasser Arafat.
Steinitz made the remarks the day after Abbas reiterated his demand that Israel must recognize a Palestinian state.
In a speech to the Fatah Congress in Ramallah, Abbas stressed that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, despite the PLO’s formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist in the 1993 Oslo Accords.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] is talking about desisting from recognizing Israel, but he will never really recognize [Israel’s] right to exist or the right for the self-determination of a Jewish homeland,” Steinitz said.
“Let’s not kid ourselves. From an ideological perspective, Abbas is the number one enemy of the very existence of Israel, even more so than Arafat,” he asserted.
In the interview, Steinitz also touched on a UN General Assembly vote Wednesday to approve a resolution that used solely Muslim language to describe the Temple Mount, calling the move “a bad joke” that bordered on antisemitism.
Noting the “the horrible acts” occurring in Syria, Iraq and the greater Middle East region, Steinitz blasted what he said was “the automatic condemnation of Israel.”
“The UN General Assembly is a joke, the UN Security Council however is not a a joke and I hope and I believe that the American veto [there] will protect Israel against the attempts to harm it,” he told the radio station.