Netanyahu is Israels longest-serving prime minister ahead of the countrys founding father, David Ben-Gurion [Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters] Days in advance of Israels second election in six months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life.The long-serving leader faces potential indictments in three corruption cases, while his right-wing Likud party has failed to open up a significant gap in the opinion polls ahead of its biggest rival, the Blue and White party, headed by former military chief Benny Gantz.
In a bid to shore up support among right-wing voters in the run-up to the poll, Netanyahu recently pledged to annex about 30 percent of the occupied West Bank if he wins. He also said he would ultimately look to apply Israeli sovereignty over all Jewish communities, a reference to illegal Israeli settlements.
The move, along with the potential publication of the US peace plan after the September 17 vote, has raised the stakes for Palestinian political leaders.Senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah reacted with unsurprising anger. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi accused the Israeli prime minister of not only destroying the two-state solution but also destroying all chances of peace.
Hamas, for its part, said Netanyahus annexation remarks neither change reality nor stop the resistance of our people against the Israeli occupation and schemes.Single agendaThe Palestinian Authority (PA), which seeks a state in the West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and Gaza as part of any resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, has not hidden its desire to see the back of the Israeli prime minister.
The PA seems to have a single agenda with respect to the Israeli elections, which is seeking to prevent a Netanyahu victory, Mouin Rabbani, a senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, told Al Jazeera.190913085653869The PAs reasoning, Rabbani continued, is that Netanyahu forms the linchpin of the US-Israeli agenda to unilaterally resolve the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through measures such as annexation, but that another leader will re-engage the Palestinians in negotiations and thus also have a mitigating effect on US policy.
Hamas, which administers the Gaza Strip, is managing its own challenges, particularly with respect to conditions in the blockaded territory.Dana El Kurd, assistant professor in political science at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies said during the previous vote, Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniya expressed the view that internal political matters among Zionists has no bearing on the Palestinian issue, and is tangential.
However, El Kurd told Al Jazeera there is likely some degree of similar belief that without Netanyahu, Hamas and Gaza specifically might have some more breathing room.
Netanyahu has forged a close alliance with US President Donald Trump [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]Those desperate to see the back of Netanyahu will have felt some validation.