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PLO leader predicts far-right Israel government after vote

Jan. 22, 2013 8:59 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2013 3:45 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – The Israeli elections are likely to produce an even more extremist right-wing government led by the current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says senior PLO official Muhammad Ishtayya.

In a lecture at the Ramallah branch of Al-Quds Open University, Ishtayya said the new government would build more settlements, “however, the Israelis know that the Palestinians have other options beside negotiations.”

The status quo, added the PLO executive committee member, requires that the Palestinians intensify their international efforts to try and save the two-state solution and recruit enough international support to stop settlement construction.

An effective role of the Palestinians in the Diaspora is crucial to accumulate international support to Palestine after it was recognized as a non-member state in the UN, added Ishtayya.

He highlighted that a top Palestinian priority would be joining several international organizations and signing international conventions.

“We have appointed a legal team to study which organizations we need to join first, how to become members in these organizations and the benefits Palestine would gain through this membership,” he said, mentioning the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization as possibilities.

He added: “I believe it is a priority to sign the Fourth Geneva Convention because it defines the Palestinian territory as occupied territory.”

On the ongoing changes in the Arab world, Ishtayya used a new name to describe the widely accepted concept of Arab Spring. “What is going on in the Arab countries is a change of seasons and not a spring.”

Israelis voted Tuesday in an election that is expected to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win a third term in office, pushing the state further to the right.

Netanyahu's own Likud party, running alongside the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu group, looks set to have fewer seats than in the previous parliament, with opinion polls showing a surge in support for the far-right Jewish Home party.
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