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Israeli FM Fears Fatah Rift May Lead to Hamas Victory in Palestinian Elections

Israeli FM Fears Fatah Rift May Lead to Hamas Victory in Palestinian Elections

Saturday, 10 April, 2021 - 05:45
Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi. (AP)

Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi denied on Friday that his government was obstructing the Palestinian elections, scheduled for next month.

However, the FM said he fears divisions within Fatah would weaken the party of President Mahmoud Abbas and lead to a victory by the Hamas movement in Gaza.

The Minister was responding to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who accused the Israeli government of trying to hinder the parliamentary and presidential polls.

Ashkenazi said that during a phone call with his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, last week, he explained that Israel was not placing any obstacles to block the elections of the Palestinian Legislative Council, set for May 22.

According to the Israeli Walla news site, Blinken responded to Ashkenazi by stressing that the US does not oppose the Palestinian Authority elections.

Blinken emphasized the US Administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy.

Despite those assertions, Israeli officials told the news site that Israel and the US are concerned about the outcome of the polls, but that they would not take any steps to prevent them.

They would rather prefer if the Palestinians postponed them, the officials said.

Ashkenazi and Blinken agreed to hold further contacts with the US Administration over the elections in the coming weeks.

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