Palestinians Hail 'End of Dark Chapter' With Netanyahu's Ouster, but Warn Bennett

Jack Khoury
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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks during the opening ceremony of a wastewater treatment plant, in Tayasir in the West Bank, in March.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks during the opening ceremony of a wastewater treatment plant, in Tayasir in the West Bank, in March.Credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS
Jack Khoury

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh hailed on Monday the end of "a dark chapter in the history of the conflict" with the departure of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but played down hopes of any progress with the Bennett-led coalition.

At a Palestinian Authority government meeting, Shtayyeh warned that "we do not see the new government as less dangerous than its predecessors," and cited Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's support for Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

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"This government has no right to exist if it ignores the rights of the Palestinian people," Shtayyeh said, "especially when the number of Palestinians from the Jordan River to the Sea is exceeding the number of Israelis, the same nation that united last month against Israeli aggression" – a reference to the riots in mixed Jewish-Arab cities throughout Israel during the flare-up with Gaza in May.    

"The new government must work immediately to end the occupation and grant the Palestinian people their legitimate rights," Shtayyeh said.

In his address, Shtayyeh also warned against holding the Jerusalem Flag March on Tuesday. Holding the march "in occupied Jerusalem is a provocation and aggression against Palestinians in East Jerusalem that must be immediately avoided," he said. 

Earlier Monday, Hamas also warned the Bennett government against holding the March, which would see right-wing groups parading through Jerusalem's Old City holding Israeli flags. 

"We are calling on Palestinians in Jerusalem and within the Green Line to halt the march tomorrow," said Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanua, calling it a "fuse for a new explosion for the protection of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem."

 On Monday, Omer Bar-Lev, the newly sworn-in public security minister, is set to meet with Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and participate in a situational assessment ahead of the march.   

The organizers of the Jerusalem Flag March reached an agreement with the Israel Police on Friday to allow for a march to take place on Tuesday. It had been planned for last Thursday, but was canceled after organizers and police failed to agree on a route over police fears that the march would reignite tensions and lead to riots in the city by passing through Palestinian areas.

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