Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot for the parliamentary election as his son Yair stands behind him at a polling station in Jerusalem March 17, 2015..
(photo credit: SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar speaks fluent Hebrew and follows Israeli television and media, claims Maariv reporter Jacki Khouri.
Not only that, despite the aggressive rhetoric and his history of military strikes and operations in Gaza - Hamas would prefer to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lead the Jewish state in the years ahead after the upcoming elections. Suprising? Khouri thinks not.
Pointing out that, in Hamas, the task of keeping an eye on trends in Israeli media is not limited to low ranking members but is common among top officials who spent years studying Israeli views. He asserts that Netanyahu is 'the known devil' for Hamas. Which makes all the difference.
"Netanyahu is far from being the Hamas darling poster boy", Khouri writes in Maariv, the sister publication of the Jerusalem Post. "He is an enemy...yet in the previous year during secret third party talks with Hamas, Israel proved control, strong will and a desire to close deals."
The worst scenario for Hamas would be Yesh Atid Head Yair Lapid sitting in Balfur Street, he claims.
Noting that in the past Lapid supported that the Palestinian Authority take control of the Gaza Strip and openly called for targeted killings of Hamas leaders, Khouri argues that "for Hamas, Lapid will be a freshly minted Prime Minister, who is anti-Palestinian with a need to throw his weight around."
Former IDF chief and Israeli Resilience Leader Benny Gantz is the second worst option, he says, as the way he might act as prime minister is a mystery to Hamas. He might offer the people of Gaza humanitarian help as easy as ordering a military operation, Hamas believes.
During his campaign, Gantz released the figures of the Hamas operatives killed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict when he served as IDF Chief. The figure given in the video is 1,364.
As for the view from the West Bank, well, for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas anyone but Netanyahu would be a positive change, says Khouri.
Last week the Palestinian leader said he hopes that the April elections in Israel will allow a government that "reaches out in a gesture of peace" to be elected
Khouri is not alone in the media to point out the value of Netanyahu as a stable, experienced leader.
Gideon Levy, who covered the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for years and is known for his harsh criticism on Israel, recently wrote that "one must give unto Ceaser what Ceaser is due...Netanyahu is not a warmonger."
Written in early November, the Haaretz opinion piece goes on to say that Netanyahu is unique among Israeli leaders in that he was able to lead the nation for 12 years with only one war.
Despite immense pressure from his base to "do something", Levi writes, "Netanyahu stood his ground."
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