Report: PA Prefers Gantz; Jordan and Egypt, Netanyahu

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

While they do not believe that he will willingly accede to many of the their demands, top officials in the Palestinian Authority have in recent days expressed a wish to see Benny Gantz take the office of Prime Minister – because they believe his lack of political experience will play into their hands. On the other hand, officials in Egypt and Jordan would prefer to see Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remain on the job, because “of the security coordination we have with him on issues like Islamic State and Iran,” Yisrael Hayom quoted the officials as saying.

The PA’s official stance has been that they have no preference regarding who should lead Israel, nor whether the government should right, left, or centrist; for the PA, all Israeli parties to the right of Meretz are too right-wing, the report said. But speaking to the newspaper Sunday, several top PA officials said that given a choice, they would prefer Gantz.

“A recent meeting in the office of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas discussing the Israeli election concluded that Gantz would be better for the PA, even if he is not a member of Meretz or Peace Now,” the report quoted the officials as saying, adding that Abbas feels he would have an advantage in negotiations over Gantz, whom he considers a political tyro, and thus less likely to resist PA demands.

With that, the report said, it was “somewhat surprising to hear officials in Jordan and Egypt expressing a preference for Netanyahu,” even though neither country has an official position on the elections. However, officials quoted in the report said, Israel under Netanyahu has maintained “very close” security ties with both countries, and while it was possible Gantz would continue those ties, the two countries prefer to keep things as they are, since the infrastructure for working with Netanyahu is already in place.