In a surprise move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to run with Likud in next month’s election and the veteran PA leader has answered affirmatively.
“We are intent on showing Israeli Arabs that we are their friends, and what better way than recruiting the Palestinian hall of famer Mahmoud Abbas,” said Netanyahu at a joint briefing with Abbas at an Aroma Cafe halfway between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday.
According to Likud sources, Netanyahu was also impressed by the fact that Abbas hasn’t ever lost an election to the best of anyone’s knowledge (or even held one in over a decade and a half), and has been a leader even longer than he has.
Abbas, for his part, said he saw the invitation as a way to jump-start talks between the PA and Israel on a two-state solution.
“Bibi refuses to meet with me as head of the PA, but he won’t be able to ignore me at those Likud faction meetings in the Knesset,” said Abbas, playfully jabbing Netanyahu in the side.
“I welcome the invitation to join an Israeli party, especially since I don’t know how much longer I can retain control of the PA,” said Abbas.
Abbas will be slotted in the realistic 25th spot ahead of Anglo candidate Efraim Menashe Tzi Bar Cohen, who was brought up in South Carolina and eats bagels and lox every week, and behind candidate Michal Dershowitz-Cotler, who once visited the US and whose brother-in-law is a big baseball fan.