The Likud initiated secret talks with the Palestinian Authority ahead of the upcoming general election, in the hopes of winning over the PA’s tacit support and encourage Arab voters to move from the Joint Arab List to the Likud, Yediot Aharanot reported Monday morning.
According to the report, Fateen Mulla, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and a Druze member of the Likud, spoke with members of the ruling Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Committee recently, in secret talks aimed at getting Palestinian Authority leaders to quietly encourage Israeli Arab voters to shift their support from the Joint Arab List to the Likud.
Officials in Ramallah told Yediot Aharanot that the secret talks were held over the past few weeks, but failed to yield any kind of agreement and were recently terminated.
A number of Palestinian Authority officials were involved in the talks, chief among them Mohammed al-Madani, a senior member of the Fatah faction’s central committee and a key ally of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The talks were planned to have culminated in a public meeting between the Likud and Fatah officials in Ramallah, with the PA offering an invitation to several Israeli officials. However, the plan was reportedly scrapped after Israeli officials expressed concerns regarding the security surrounding such an event.
PA officials are said to have been offended by the Israeli refusal, torpedoing the talks.
Sources in Ramallah explained that some PA officials view a victory by the Israeli Right in the upcoming elections as inevitable, and favor a victory by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over other possible outcomes, seeing the incumbent premier as more moderate than potential replacements.