Right-wing gov't would worry Hamas, PA

PA president says next gov't will be "pragmatic" regardless of leader; Arab countries pessimistic.

livni abbas shake hands 248.88 (photo credit: GPO [file])
livni abbas shake hands 248.88
(photo credit: GPO [file])
A coalition government of right-wing and extreme right-wing parties would likely undermine Palestinian peace efforts and the Palestinian peace camp, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned on Wednesday. A coalition formed by right-wing parties such as Likud, Shas, Israel Beiteinu and the settler parties National Union and Habayit Hayehudi "means that we are going to have a coalition but they don't have the ingredients for the meaning of peace," said Erekat. "If a coalition is formed in Israel that rejects the two-state solution and agreements signed with the PLO and the Palestinian Authority and will not stop settlement activities, we would be left with no other option but to consider them a non-partner," he told The Jerusalem Post. A right-wing government that acted in such a way would deliver a "message to the Palestinians that the time for peace is over," he added. "People like me will be undermined. All the Palestinian moderates and the Palestinian peace camp is going to be a story of the past," he added. The international community has demanded that the Palestinian people accept the two-state solution, renounce violence and accept previous agreements signed, he said. But if the Israeli government itself failed to do so, "will the international community consider them a partner for peace?" Erekat asked. Erekat said he had posed this question to The Quartet on the Middle East. He said the Quartet was waiting to see which Israeli leader would ultimately form a government. The Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds quoted Gaza-based Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum on Wednesday as saying that the Israeli elections, in which Kadima, Likud and Israel Beiteinu earned the most votes, had "produced three heads of Israeli terror." "The results of the elections confirm that the Zionist society is headed towards the most radical choice and the one that evokes terrorism and wars the most against the Palestinian people." Senior Hamas official Ahmed Yousef told the Post about a week before the Israeli elections that he didn't see any real difference between the main candidates for prime minister. "What Tzipi did and what Barak did [in Gaza] is worse than whatever radical extremists have done before," he said from an Islamic organization office in Gaza City. "All the Zionists have this kind of agenda, to wipe out all the Palestinians from the historic land of Palestine."