Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian officials in Ramallah said on Wednesday that they were not surprised by the results of the election in Israel and expressed concern over the rise of the right-wing bloc.
“Israelis have voted to maintain the status quo, as far as the occupation of Palestine,” said PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat. “They voted for apartheid and to an endless occupation. Exit polls show that only 18 members of the 120 seats in the Knesset support two states on the 1967 borders.”
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that Israelis have voted for candidates “who are unequivocally committed to entrenching the status quo of oppression, occupation, annexation and dispossession in Palestine and escalating the assault on Palestinian national and human rights.”
The Israelis, she added, have “chosen an overwhelmingly right-wing, Xenophobic and anti-Palestinian parliament to represent them. Israelis chose to entrench and expand apartheid.”
Ashrawi said that the Palestinians will “overcome this dark and highly dangerous chapter and remain deeply rooted in our homeland.”
Another senior PLO official, Ahmed Majdalni, expressed deep concern over the fate of Arab Israelis in the aftermath of the results of the election. The Arab Israelis, he said, faced a “fierce campaign of racism and fascism” during the election campaign.”
Bassam al-Salhi, general-secretary of the Palestinian People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party) said that Netanyahu’s victory “was the result of growing extremism, racism and corruption” in Israel. He called on Palestinians in the West Bank to step up “popular resistance” against Israel. He also urged the Palestinian Authority to abandon all agreements signed with Israel.
A senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told The Jerusalem Post that the results of the election show that there is no partner for peace with the Palestinians on the Israeli side. Noting that the Palestinian issue and the peace process were almost entirely absent from the election campaign, the adviser said that the Palestinian cause will continue to be at the top of the challenges facing Israel.
“The election is an internal Israeli affair,” he added. “But we believe that the international community needs to pressure Israel to continue supporting the peace camp that believes in the two-state solution.”
Another PA official told the Post that the results of the election in Israel underscore the need for the Palestinians to be united so that they will be able to face Israeli “racism and hostility.” Fatah and Hamas, he said, need to wake up and “realize that the Palestinian cause is facing dangerous challenges.”
The official predicted that the US administration’s support for Israel will encourage Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies to annex large parts of the West Bank. “If that happens, the two-state solution will be officially dead,” the official cautioned. “We can’t face Israeli-American conspiracies as long as we are divided.”
Hamas, for its part, said that the results of the election pose a “new challenge” to the Palestinians, especially in light of the US administration’s “bias” in favor of Israel. Essam Aldalis, a senior Hamas official, called on Palestinians to endorse the program of the Palestinian “resistance” so they would be able to thwart efforts to “liquidate the Palestinian cause through the “deal of the century” – US President Donald Trump’s unpublished plan for peace in the Middle East.
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