Palestinian official: Israeli elections will lead to a right-wing gov’t

"We’ll reject Trump’s plan in the first five minutes"

December 29, 2018 22:30
3 minute read.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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A senior Palestinian official in Ramallah said on Saturday that he expected the general elections in Israel to result in the establishment of a new right-wing government that is more radical and hostile toward the Palestinians.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, member of the Fatah Central Committee, who is closely associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also said that the Palestinians will reject US President Donald Trump’s upcoming peace plan “in the first five minutes.”

The election campaign in Israel will focus on the Palestinians, and the competition between the various political party members and lists will be over “who will repress and slaughter the Palestinians more,” Shtayyeh said in remarks published by the PA’s official news agency, Wafa.

Israeli society, he claimed, was becoming “more extremist and hostile toward the two-state solution.”

Shtayyeh predicted that the election campaign in Israel will focus mostly on the Palestinians.

“The fuel for the election campaign will be the suffering of our people, the theft of our land, the Judaization of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, the continued isolation of the Gaza Strip and the use of Area C [in the West Bank] as a geographical reservoir for expanding settlements,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s words and actions show that he does not distinguish between Ma’aleh Adumim and Tel Aviv, Shtayyeh said. “Accordingly, I don’t distinguish between Ramallah and Jaffa. Israel’s claim that it’s a democratic state is incorrect; so is its claim that it’s a Jewish state. Israel is a state on historic Palestine, where there’s a Palestinian majority. It doesn’t have a Jewish majority. In the long term, Israel is a state that will perish demographically.”

According to the senior Palestinian official, the debate in Israel today “is not between the peace camp and the occupation camp; rather, it’s between those who want annexation [of parts of the West Bank] and those who want to maintain the status quo.”

Shtayyeh also predicted that the upcoming elections in Israel will result in the establishment of a right-wing government which, he said, could be more extremist. The Palestinians, he added, “will pay the price of this election fuel. The race is among those who are more violent against the Palestinians and their lands and holy sites.”

The PA leadership, he said, was currently working on revising its political, security, legal and economic relations with Israel.

“The political horizon is closed because there’s no partner for peace in Israel,” Shtayyeh said. “As a people under occupation, we don’t consider Israel an ally or a partner. Israel is occupying our land, and the occupation must end. We have the right to resist it. Fatah has endorsed the popular resistance to the occupation, and we have a strategy on this issue.”

He also pointed out that the PA leadership has formed a legal committee to reconsider Palestinian recognition of Israel. When the committee completes its work, he said, the Palestinians will either suspend or rescind this recognition.

Referring to Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East, which is also known as the “deal of the century,” Shtayyeh said that it was “stillborn and has evaporated.” The Trump plan, he claimed, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and “some pockets of the West Bank.”

Although the Palestinians have still not seen the “deal of the century,” Shtayyeh said, the actions and ideas of the Trump administration indicate that the Palestinians won’t accept it. The Trump administration, he charged, is seeking to force the Palestinians to accept whatever they’re offered. He also accused the Trump administration of “following the methodology of a cattle slaughterhouse or the real estate agent from Brooklyn” in dealing with the Palestinians.

“We reject Trump’s ideas,” Shtayyeh said. “We also reject bilateral negotiations with Israel and American monopoly over the peace process. When and if the deal of the century is announced, we will reject it in the first five minutes.”

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