Middle East

Israel defense chief gives interview to Palestinian daily

FILE -- In this May 30, 2016 file photo, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman appears at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, before his swearing-in ceremony, in Jerusalem. The Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, published a rare interview with Lieberman, where he reiterated his long held positions on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. But for a Palestinian paper to interview an Israeli official is unusual and it comes at a time of heightened tensions and mistrust between the sides. Lieberman warned Gaza’s Hamas rulers and dismissed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinians were angered by the interview. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

FILE -- In this May 30, 2016 file photo, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman appears at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, before his swearing-in ceremony, in Jerusalem. The Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, published a rare interview with Lieberman, where he reiterated his long held positions on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. But for a Palestinian paper to interview an Israeli official is unusual and it comes at a time of heightened tensions and mistrust between the sides. Lieberman warned Gaza’s Hamas rulers and dismissed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinians were angered by the interview. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)  (The Associated Press)

The main Palestinian newspaper is publishing a rare interview with Israel's ultranationalist defense minister where he threatened the militant group Hamas that rules Gaza and dismissed the Palestinian president.

Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his long-held positions Monday in the daily Al Quds. But for a Palestinian paper to interview an Israeli official is unusual and it comes at a time of heightened tensions between the sides.

Lieberman dismissed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as "incapable" of signing a peace deal with Israel and threatened Hamas with "being destroyed" if they "impose war on Israel."

The Palestinian Ministry of Information issued a statement criticizing the reporter for "giving a stage to the murderer Lieberman to mix things and to pass through his terminology."

Hamas in Gaza also condemned the interview.