Disappointment and fear: PA responds to election results in Israel

March 4, 2020 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) leadership has expressed serious concerns following Benjamin Netanyahu’s apparent victory in the elections for the 23rd Knesset and is waiting for a dramatic development that would prevent him from assuming the premiership again.

Men wave flags and make the Victory sign during a rally in Gaza City against US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Gaza, Feb 21, 2020. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

PA officials in Ramallah throughout Monday night monitored the exit polls results and social media in an attempt to divulge details about the outcome.

In conversations with TPS, PA officials expressed mainly a state of helplessness and a lack of strategy to change the existing situation, while expressing heavy concerns over Israel’s annexation of land in Judea and Samaria and the expansion of Israeli construction.

Alongside these negative reactions, they expressed pleasure over the achievement of the Arab-majority Joint List, which gained two seats in the Knesset.

PA officials admitted that they did not have any plans to deal with the developing situation and said they hoping for some dramatic event that would somehow change the results.

Others told TPS that their hope is that the Israeli court will change the situation. Netanyahu will appear in court in two weeks to face charges in three corruption-related cases.

A senior PA official told TPS that they will now await the results of the US election in November, as the results in Israel blocks the path for diplomatic progress and pave the way for the progression of President Donald Trump’s Deal of the Century peace plan, which the PA opposes.

A former PA minister told TPS that “Netanyahu will not have a difficulty in forming a strong right-wing government,” but claimed that “such a government will surely serve the enemies of Israel, Hamas and Iran,” as Israel will continue to deepen the split in the Palestinian leadership and support Hamas’ establishment in the Gaza Strip.

In his response to the election results, Saeb Erekat, a senior PLO official and head negotiator with Israel, told the TPS agency that “the settlements, annexation and apartheid have won and Netanyahu has decided that the continued occupation and conflict will ensure Israel’s progress and prosperity.”

Erekat added that “Netanyahu has chosen to perpetuate the conflict, violence, extremism, chaos and bloodshed, forcing the region and its people to live on the sword.”  He is worried that “the next step is annexation.”

Prior to the elections, senior PA officials said they hoped that a victory for the Blue and White party would hamper developments such as the alliance between Netanyahu and the US, and now they are worried and disappointed.

Taysir Khalid, a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP, said the results of the Israeli elections are evidence that Israel “is becoming a fascist regime” and admitted that the results shocked those who bet on other results.

A Jordanian journalist, an Israel affairs expert, believes that it is precisely the Israeli-Arabs who indirectly helped the Likud’s big victory, as their mobilization in favour of the Joint List and their run for the polls provoked right-wing and Likud supporters in Israel.

However, some described the Joint List’s achievements as “a historic turning point.”

The Islamic Jihad said in a statement that the results of the elections did not change the reality and therefore the organization would continue to “oppose the occupation.”

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