Abbas ‘urged Palestinian MPs in Knesset to save Bennett coalition’

Arab sources in Israel say that PA President Mahmoud Abbas contacted a number of Palestinian deputies in the Knesset (AFP)

Mohammad Ayesh

Middle East Eye  /  April 14, 2022

Meanwhile, Egyptian delegation postpones Israel visit, poll finds majority of Jordanians do not trust government, and an Egyptian man says Christian wife kidnapped.

Abbas acted to save Bennett coalition over Netanyahu fears

Arab sources in Israel say that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas contacted a number of Palestinian deputies in the Knesset to urge them to work to save the coalition government of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to a report on the Aljarmaq news website.

Abbas contacted Mansour Abbas, a member of Bennett’s coalition, and deputies Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi in order to avoid the toppling of Bennett and prevent the return to power of former premier Benjamin Netanyahu, the sources told Aljarmaq, which specializes in news about Jerusalem and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Bennett’s ruling coalition lost its majority last week after Idit Silman, a member of the prime minister’s Yamina party, quit.

Earlier, Silman had lashed out at Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, after he instructed hospitals to allow leavened bread products into their facilities during the upcoming Passover holiday, in line with a recent Supreme Court ruling reversing years of prohibition.

Under Jewish tradition, leavened bread is not allowed in the public domain during Passover.

“Silman was subjected to bullying that only few persons in the history of Israel were subjected to,” said Bennett, Justifying Silman’s withdrawal from the coalition.

Bennett said Silman had been subjected to “months of verbal violence” from his government’s opponents.

Egyptian delegation postpones Israel visit over security situation

Egyptian sources say that a scheduled high-level visit to both Ramallah and Tel Aviv by the General Intelligence Directorate was postponed due to what they described as “the incendiary security situation in Israel and the occupied territories”, according to a report in the London-based Al-Araby al-Jadeed.

One of the sources said the delegation was scheduled to arrive in Tel Aviv to meet officials from the Israeli government last Friday, before heading to Ramallah to meet Abbas and other officials.

The source explained that “officials in the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate found that the visit under the current security situation would not be fruitful, especially in light of the decisions announced recently by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, which were severe, and with the aim of controlling the anger of the Israeli people, due to the recent escalation of resistance operations within the occupied territories”.

Since the start of Ramadan on 2 April, 17 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

The tensions have come during the Muslim holy month and ahead of the start of Passover Friday, an overlap that can heighten tensions around sacred sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The source added that “due to the Israeli decisions, and the state of anger that controls the government there, the visit organizers in Egypt decided to address the Israeli side’s request for the postponement of the visit until the receding of the state of anger within Israeli security and government circles, so that non-emotive decisions can be reached”.

Mohammad Ayesh is an Arab journalist currently based in London