An Israeli Druze Likud MK held secret talks with the Palestinian Authority in recent weeks to discuss the possibility of the PA tacitly supporting Netanyahu in the upcoming elections to encourage Israeli-Arabs to vote for Likud instead of the Joint Arab List, Yediot Achranot reported on Monday morning.
The report, based on Palestinian sources in Ramallah, said that talks were held between Likud MK Fateen Mulla, an Israeli Druze politician who also serves as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Muhammad Madani, a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and a senior Fatah official.
The sources said that the talks were suspended after the Palestinians invited Mulla to continue the discussions at an in-person meeting in Ramallah. When Mulla failed to receive approval for the meeting due to security issues, the Palestinians took offense and ended the talks.
According to senior Likud sources, the Likud and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, including the campaign official leading the party’s outreach to Israeli Arabs, knew nothing about the talks between Mulla and the PA until a Yediot reporter asked for a reaction to the report.
“There is no one in the world who thinks that the Palestinian Authority will support Prime Minister Netanyahu while it sends money to [Joint List chairman] Ayman Odeh to topple Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and replace him with Yair Lapid,” the Likud stated.
Mulla confirmed that discussions were held but said they were on “low heat,” adding that the Arab Joint List party “does not represent the Palestinian people, and those who understand will understand.”
The Palestinians were reportedly willing to engage in discussions due to their fear of right-wing politicians Gideon Sa’ar and Naftali Bennett, whom they view as the “radical right” who will make efforts to increase settlements in the Shomron and push forward annexation of the area. Since they view a win by the right to be inevitable, they prefer a win by the “more moderate” Netanyahu than his hawkish opponents.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)