Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday expressed hope that the election in Israel would prompt the international community to revive a “serious and effective” peace process.
The PA said that it would deal with the next Israeli government “regardless of its coalition makeup and who would head it.”
A statement issued by the PA Foreign Ministry said that while the Palestinians did not intervene in the internal affairs of Israel, they were hoping the elections would provide the international community with an opportunity to restart the diplomatic process.
The ministry said that the peace process should be based on the international terms of reference for peace – the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, halting settlement construction and establishing an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinians would pursue their political and diplomatic efforts to preserve Palestinian rights and “expose Israeli violations against our people, our land and our holy sites,” the PA ministry said.
It vowed to continue working toward prosecuting Israelis for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the results of the election “show the success of a campaign platform based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people.”
Such a result would not have been possible had the international community held Israel to account for its “systematic violations of international law,” Erekat said.
He urged the international community to support Palestinian efforts to “internationalize our struggle for dignity and freedom through the International Criminal Court and through all peaceful means.”
One Israeli government official responded to Erekat by saying that it was “difficult to take him seriously,” since his government “signed a pact with Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction.”
The official added that it was also difficult to take Erekat seriously as the PA “conducts a propaganda campaign encouraging hatred of Israel and denying the very legitimacy of the country.”
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the Palestinians would continue to deal with any government in Israel that abides by international resolutions and the two-state solution.
“We are not interested in who becomes the prime minister in Israel,” Abu Rudaineh said. “What we want from any government is to recognize the two-state solution, with east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. Without that, there would be no chance for the peace process.”
Several PLO officials in Ramallah called on the PA leadership to pursue its efforts to file war crime charges against Israelis with the International Criminal Court in wake of the results of the Israeli election. They called on the PA to endorse a recent PLO Central Committee decision to halt security coordination with Israel.
The PLO said in a statement that the results of the election show that Israel has chosen “racism and occupation” instead of negotiations with the Palestinians.
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the Palestinians do not see any difference between various Israeli parties.
“All the parties are faces for the same coin of terrorism,” he added.
Hamas described the results of the election as a declaration of war against the Palestinians. Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said that the results show that Israeli voters support “extremism and crime.”
Bahr called on Abbas and the PA leadership to cut off their ties with Israel and “return to the option of resistance and unity.”
Another Hamas official, Izzat al-Risheq, predicted the collapse of the peace process in wake of the election.
“The victory of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu shows that the Zionist society is headed toward more extremism,” he said. “Netanyahu is a terrorist and those who voted for him are like him.”