Palestinians ‘deeply disappointed’ by rise of right-wing bloc

PA: We will work with any government that commits to two-state solution

PA President Mahmoud Abbas in cairo on Janurary 31 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas in cairo on Janurary 31 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinians expressed disappointment and deep concern over the results of Monday’s election, saying increased support for right-wing parties was a sign Israelis have voted for the “continuation of the occupation.”
But Arab citizens of Israel welcomed the increase in power of the Joint List, an alliance of Arab parties, from 13 to 15 seats. Several Arab Israelis also expressed concern over the rise of the right-wing bloc, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
The Palestinian Authority said while it views the results of the election as “an internal Israeli affair,” the Palestinians won’t allow the outcome of the vote to undermine Palestinian rights.
“We only care about preserving our legitimate national rights, first and foremost Jerusalem and its holy shrines,” said PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh. “We won’t allow anyone to liquidate our cause.”
The Palestinians were prepared to deal with any Israeli government that “commits to achieving a just and comprehensive peace that is based on international resolutions to establish an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders,” he said.
The Palestinians “will thwart all conspiracies that aim to eliminate our national cause and will emerge triumphant,”Abu Rudaineh said.
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said, “It’s obvious that settlement, occupation and apartheid have won the Israeli elections.”
Netanyahu’s campaign was “about the continuation of the occupation and conflict, which will force people of the region to live by the sword,” he said.
PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh expressed concern that Netanyahu would return to power. With right-wing parties in Israel “on the rise,” this means “the aggression program against the Palestinian people is the annexation program,” he said in reference to talk about applying Israeli sovereignty to certain parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley.
The Palestinians are facing “great challenges” in the aftermath of the election, Shtayyeh said. The challenges include “settlements, settlement expansion, annexation of the Jordan Valley, converting Palestinian cities and villages into Bantustans and piracy of our money,” he said.
PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said the results of the election indicate that Israeli society is “headed toward extremism and racism.” In light of the victory of the right-wing parties, the Palestinians need to reassess their policies so they would be able to face the new challenges, he said.
The PA Foreign Ministry warned if Netanyahu manages to form a right-wing coalition, it would lead to “annexation, expansion of settlements, land expropriation, house demolitions, targeted killings and ethnic cleansing.” Expressing concern over the rise of the right-wing parties, it said: “The Israeli Right believes that [US President Donald Trump’s] ‘Deal of the Century’ is a precious opportunity to annex [West Bank] land.”
Hamas officials reacted to the election by saying they see no difference between left- and right-wing parties and candidates in Israel.
“They are all united against the Palestinians,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “The nature of any future government in Israel won’t change the conflict with the occupier. Nor will it change the Palestinian struggle to end the occupation.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based terrorist group, also said it does not differentiate between the various parties and governments in Israel.
“The results of the election won’t change the reality,” PIJ spokesman Daoud Shehab said. “The Palestinian people have paid a heavy price because of Zionist terrorism under all previous governments.”
The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said the results of the vote “came as a shock to all those who still believe in a peace process.”
Some Palestinians called on the PA to respond to the results of the election by dismantling the controversial Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, established in 2012 to arrange meetings between Palestinians and Israelis. The committee recently faced strong condemnations from many Palestinians for inviting Israeli journalists to Ramallah and attending a meeting in Tel Aviv organized by Israeli peace activists who support the two-state solution.
The heads of the Joint List, which won 15 seats, expressed deep satisfaction, saying they would serve in the next Knesset as fierce opponents to a right-wing government.
“We are proud of our achievement,” said MK Ahmad Tibi of the Joint List. Two Arab women, Sundus Saleh and Eman Khatib, have been elected as Knesset members on behalf of the Joint List, he said.
MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, said it was now clear that his list was the only party that represents “unity in the Arab community, while at the same tine reaching out to Jewish partners.” The rise of the Joint List’s power was an “unprecedented achievement,” he said.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen said he was proud of the “historic achievement” of his list.
“The Arab public voted in droves and expressed their faith in us,” he said. “With our increased representation, we will combat the extreme Right.”
Mohammed Darawshe, director of the Givat Haviva Institute, said Blue and White’s attacks on the left-wing parties was one of the reasons for its defeat.
“[Blue and White head] Benny Gantz tried to imitate the positions of the Likud Party on regional issues, especially those related to Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century,’” he said, expressing regret over the success of the right-wing bloc.