The Palestinian leadership is following the tumultuous Israeli political scene with a combination of delight and despair. A senior PLO official who is well acquainted with Israeli politics said that after losing hope that the US administration would generate any advancement in the coming years, change could only come if the Israeli leadership changes. In other words, only an Israeli leadership that distances itself from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexationist settlement policies could offer a diplomatic horizon.
The Palestinian source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that most of the Ramallah leadership follows Netanyahu’s corruption scandals. “We don’t believe he will be indicted. The occupation has eroded Israel’s democracy. Israel is run by a junta of right-wing politicians and settlers,” he said. Yet their assessment is that at the end of 2018, there will be elections in Israel and Netanyahu’s rule could come to an end. In terms of a Likud-leadership replacement, they believe it will be more of the same. Among the potential contenders they know best is former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. “A partner to peace he is not,” noted the Palestinian source. In any case, he believes that the Israeli right will be run in the future by settlers and right-wing fanatic rabbis.