In Ramallah, no one appears surprised at the content of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s speech at the United Nations, and no one seems to be wondering why Bennett makes virtually no references to the Palestinian issue on any other occasion, either.
According to a senior official in the inner circle of Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas, Bennett’s stance regarding the Palestinian issue was entirely expected.
The official told the Israel Hayom newspaper this week that the PA leadership is biding its time, waiting for the rotation agreement between Bennett and Yesh Atid head and current Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to be implemented and Lapid to become premier.
“So Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is ignoring the Palestinians – well, that’s not so terrible,” the official said. “We’re not addressing the issue right now either. And we had no expectations that a former head of the Yesha Council would suddenly alter his ideological stance. All the discussions, contacts, and meetings that we have organized until this point – in fact, all the meetings we plan to hold in the future, too – are with one goal in mind, and that is to prepare the ground for the eventuality that in one-and-a-half years’ time, Bennett will end his term as prime minister and Lapid will become premier.”
The official added that, “It’s quite clear that Bennett has no ideological wish to advance the peace process with us, nor does he have the public support necessary for returning to the negotiating table. However, in the current Israeli government, in contrast to previous administrations in the last decade, there are those who are ready and prepared to sit and talk with us and endeavor to get things moving again. That’s why we, and also those Israeli representatives with whom we are in contact, are working to build trust between the two sides.”