Yuval Diskin says Israel is losing international support by not conducting peace negotiations with the Palestinians.By Gidi Weitz and Yanir Yagna
Former Shin Bet security service director Yuval Diskin defended Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, saying that Abbas is against terrorism.
"[Abbas] is against terrorism, although not because he loves us," Diskin told a student conference in southern Israel.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman severely criticized the Palestinian president, telling reporters that Abbas was the "greatest obstacle" to regional order and it would be a "blessing" if Abbas were to resign.
"Since 2007, [the Palestinian Authority] in the West Bank has made great efforts to fight terrorism," Diskin said on Wednesday. " As someone who was involved for many years in what was happening there, from 1993, I don't remember a time during which the Palestinians have fought terrorism as seriously as they are today."
Diskin said that Abbas is "not inherently a leader, but rather a statesman."
Diskin also said that Israel is losing international support by not conducting peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Regarding the recent Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange deal that included the release of Gilad Shalit, Diskin said that "it would be better for Israel not to conduct these deals. These deals are not good for Israel"
Diskin said that Hamas "received oxygen" from the Shalit deal but that Hamas was concerned about its international isolation and the unrest in Syria.