Israeli government collapse dashes Palestinian hopes of "political horizon"
RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank — Palestinian officials believe that the collapse of the Israeli government will delay any prospect of a “political horizon” or diplomatic process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Why it matters: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had hoped that President Biden’s upcoming trip to the region would lead to some kind of a political breakthrough in the conflict.
State of play: Since the formation of the current Israeli government a year ago, many high-level Palestinian-Israeli meetings have been held, but they were all limited to discussing daily life and economic and security issues.
- Palestinian officials said that Bennett rejected many initiatives to discuss launching a political process.
- The Biden administration also informed the Palestinians in the last year that despite the U.S. commitment to the two-state solution, the time was not ripe to launch a political process between the two parties, the officials said.
Yes, but: Palestinian officials see a glimmer of hope in Yair Lapid, who is expected to become acting Israeli prime minister next week. Lapid said in December 2021 that it is no secret that he supports the two-state solution.
- The two Palestinian officials said that Abbas would not oppose a meeting with Lapid if he offered to meet the Palestinian president on the basis of a two-state solution.
Palestinian officials also see the political crisis in Israel as an opportunity for the Biden administration to fulfill several of its promises after postponing some steps, such as reopening the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem — a move Israel opposes.
- Waiting to reopen the consulate can create a "reality in which the elections may produce an Israeli right-wing government that makes the matter more complicated," a senior Palestinian official said.
- The State Department said earlier this month that it remains "committed to reopening our consulate in Jerusalem."
- The senior Palestinian official also said that the political developments in Israel put more responsibility on the Biden administration to prevent any escalation in settlement building or another escalation on the ground.
What they're saying: Palestinian officials, who are publicly calling the Israeli elections an "internal affair," said they are closely watching developments in Israel, including the prospects for a purely right-wing government after the elections.
- "The elections are an internal Israeli affair that does not concern us. We do not care who will come. We will deal with any Israeli government that commits to peace," another senior Palestinian official close to President Abbas said.