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With a clear shift to the right, the Palestinians can’t expect much from Israel’s General Election

21 8 64
26.03.2019

After a period of relative silence, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced his hope that the Israeli elections will end with someone at the helm who believes in peace, meaning an opponent of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This announcement, the first of its kind, provoked reactions from Hamas and Israel. The former pointed out that while Abbas is conciliatory towards Israel, he is using hostile language with fellow Palestinians in Gaza and Hamas. Meanwhile, Netanyahu announced that Abbas’s statement means that he welcomes the withdrawal from the occupied West Bank, announced by his opponents.

What is the Palestinian factor in the Israeli elections, and how will it affect the winners and losers? Which Israeli party do the Palestinian Authority and Hamas consider to be the best for them or the least bad?

With elections weeks away, Israel pounds Gaza – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The 21st Israeli General Election next month is marked by intense competition between the right-wing Likud and the Blue and White party led by former generals; they are the two major parties. There aren’t significant differences in the percentage of votes each one is expected to win, so this leaves room to talk about their main positions towards the Palestinians and the formation of the next government. Opinion polls show a shift to the right and far right in Israel. Other candidates have a lot to do to catch up.

Dealing with the Palestinian situation is the hottest issue in Israel at the moment and it is a common denominator between all parties. In terms of the relationship with Hamas, their positions vary from favouring its continued control over Gaza and a rejection of the idea of taming the movement and pushing it towards moderation; it is believed that it may change strategically and temporarily, but will never abandon its underlying ideology. Those on the Israeli right who adopt this position believe that it is unacceptable to accept an armed Hamas-led state alongside Israel, even if its leadership demonstrates pragmatic flexibility.

READ: Latest polls show Gantz maintaining narrow lead over Netanyahu

On the other hand, the centre and what remains of the Israeli left believe that the PA’s weakness and the........

© Middle East Monitor