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Palestinians to Ratchet Up Rejectionist Approach in Wake of Likud Victory

The Palestinian Authority responded to the electoral victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday by threatening to continue diplomatic warfare against Israel.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports:

“It is clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next government, and for that, we say clearly that we will go to the Hague Tribunal, we will accelerate, continue and intensify” diplomatic efforts, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Agence France-Presse.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for Palestine to join the ICC on January 1, and Palestine is slated to fully join the court on April 1. In the meantime, the ICC has begun the process for opening an investigation into potential Israeli war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

Similarly, the JTA quoted Hamas official Ismail Radwan arguing for the PA to take a more confrontational approach to Israel: “The results should be enough to convince the Palestinian Authority and Fatah Party to forget about the choice of keeping the absurd negotiations.”

Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah was non-committal and said that the Palestinians are not concerned by who is the Israeli prime minister, “but what we want from any government is to recognize the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state,” Ma’an news agency reported (Arabic link). “On this basis, we will continue to deal with any Israeli government which committed to the international legitimacy resolutions.”

However, another Hamas official, Hossam Badran, called (Arabic link) on the Palestinian Authority to make a strategic decision to abandon the peace process and cut all ties with Israel, “draw a unified national strategy to confront the occupation as an enemy requires resist by all means and methods” – Hamas wording for using military confrontation to achieve Palestinian goals.

In an exchange of letters between Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the time of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Arafat committed to forswear violence and engage in bilateral negotiations with Israel. After Ehud Barak defeated Netanyahu in 1999, Barak attempted to make a deal with Arafat. Arafat rejected the deal and started the second intifada. In 2008, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered a deal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas never responded. According to Israel’s former negotiator  Tzipi Livni, last year Abbas ended American-sponsored peace talks with Israel.

[Photo: SSIS – University of Bradford / YouTube ]