a top member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Executive Committee said Tuesday that the "elections
in Israel will bring about an even more extreme right-wing government that will seek to destroy the possibility of peace, not only in the Israel-Palestinian arena, but in the entire region."
In an interview with Saudi newspaper Okaz, she said, "We are preparing for the worst possible scenario in light of Netanyahu's alliance with more radical figures." Ashrawi dubbed Habayit Hayehudi
chairman Naftali Bennett
"the settlement leader."
Palestinians evinced weary indifference on Tuesday as Israelis voted in an election set to produce a hardline government keener to expand Jewish settlements on occupied land than seek peace.
"Regardless of who wins, the result is the same: Israelis want this land but not the people," said Ahmed Amro, a professor at Al-Quds Open University in Ramallah, the West Bank's capital.
"The Palestinians should have a plan to face this situation we're in, and not put much stock in who wins," he said.
"We hope this election will lead to peace, to the recognition of the Palestinian state and to the rights of the Palestinian people," said Gaza physician Hussein Ekelan.
"But all indications say Netanyahu will win, and this will be a big disaster," he said.
While Palestinians are united in dismissing Israel's elections, their internal political rifts remain deep.
Hamas rejects Israel's right to exist and opposes US-sponsored negotiations, advocating armed struggle instead. Abbas has put his faith in diplomacy, but neither strategy has brought Palestinians much closer to achieving their national aspirations.
Asked of their hopes for Israel's polls, three grocers in a Ramallah store all mumbled: "What does it matter?"
"Labor, Likud, there's no difference," Mohammad Zaid said, mentioning the main leftwing and rightwing Israeli parties.
"Me, I care what happens on the street here in Palestine, and I don't like what Hamas does. I vote yellow, I vote for the keffiyeh," he said, pointing to his black-and-white chequered scarf, a symbol of Fatah along with its trademark colour.
"You're being a bit partisan," his bearded colleague said.
"You're with Hamas," his friends retorted, laughing.
Reuters contributed to this report