Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader, on Tuesday downplayed the Israeli election.
Speaking at a conference of Palestinian Arab entrepreneurs in Bethlehem, Shtayyeh said he saw no difference between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his main challenger, Benny Gantz.
“Today, there are elections in Israel. And frankly, the difference between Benny and Bibi — Benny Gantz and Bibi Netanyahu — the difference Benny and Bibi is not much of a difference between Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola,” he said.
Shtayyeh further said, "We are not counting on the results of the Israeli elections, which are taking place today. The competition is between two candidates who do not have a program to end the occupation.”
"Unfortunately Israeli society is moving further to the right. Yet we want those who led the government in Israel to stand up and tell the world that they are ready to end the occupation, and that President Mahmoud Abbas will have a partner (in peace). Without that we will take other steps if the same Israeli government policy persists,” he added, according to the Wafa news agency.
The peace process between Israel and the PA has been frozen since 2014, when PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas breached conditions of talks that were ongoing at the time by unilaterally joining international treaties and conventions.
While the PA chairman claims he is ready to sit down for peace talks, he has continuously rejected Netanyahu’s call to sit down for peace negotiations, and has instead chosen to impose preconditions on talks.