Ismail Haniyeh
Photo: Reuters
Haniyeh: Israel electing even more extreme government
In joint press conference with visiting Malaysian premier, Hamas leader urges Arabs to devise united strategy to fight 'Israeli extremism'

Tuesday's elections in Israel will result in "an even more extreme government," Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said. He called on Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims to devise a united strategy to fight "Israeli extremism."


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Haniyeh spoke during a joint press conference in Gaza City with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is visiting the coastal enclave for the first time. The visit is seen as a political boost for the territory's once internationally isolated rulers from Hamas.


PM Netanyahu at Western Wall, Tuesday (Photo: AFP)
PM Netanyahu at Western Wall, Tuesday (Photo: AFP)


The West has branded Hamas, which seized Gaza in 2007, as a terror organization. The Arab Spring uprisings that brought Islamists to power in parts of the region also enabled Hamas to break out of its isolation.


In October, the leader of resource-rich Qatar became the first head of state to visit Gaza. Hamas has also forged closer ties in the past two years with regional powerhouses Egypt and Turkey.


Also on Tuesday, Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Executive Committee said 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."


The Palestinians called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to visit the Western Wall after casting his ballot in a Jerusalem school a "provocation."


"Netanyahu is trying to gain more Israeli votes on Election Day by provoking the Muslims and soiling the holy sites," a top Hamas figure said. The Islamist group also called for an uprising in the West Bank as a result of the "recurrent provocations."


Senior Palestinian official Mustafa Bargouti also addressed the elections, saying "The extreme Right's apparent victory proves that there is no basis for peace with Israel."



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