At the Herzliya Conference, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said June 22 that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants to drag Hamas into a military conflict with Israel. According to Liberman, Abbas believes that another military conflict between Hamas and Israel could lead to the downfall of Hamas and the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the Gaza Strip.
Liberman is known for his acrimonious feelings toward the Palestinian president and has called him an obstacle to peace on countless occasions. In Liberman's view, only a route "circumventing Abbas" will lead to progress on the diplomatic front. This time, however, his comments were apparently not made out of the same sense of animosity. They were based on assessments by top Israeli security officials who claim that the PA's financial disengagement from Gaza — the electricity crisis, the slashing of salaries and even the reduction of the supply of medicines and medical equipment to Gaza's hospitals — could drag Hamas into another military conflict with Israel.