Israeli security and military institutions are sceptical about the seriousness of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas regarding presidential and parliamentary elections, Quds Press reported on Sunday. It quoted Israeli news website Walla as saying that, "The security and military institutions in Israel expect that Abbas's decision about the elections was not genuine."
Referring to the polls that predict a Hamas success against Fatah, the Israelis apparently question Abbas's intention to proceed with the elections. In any case, said Walla, the Palestinians are not interested in elections as they are too busy dealing with their daily crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
Walla also cited security sources saying that Abbas's election decree was nothing more than his way of wooing new US President Joe Biden. The Palestinian leader, they explained, has been trying to prompt a thaw in relations with Washington and resume the political process with Israel.
Israeli military officials believe that Abbas "knows how to play the game" and will back down from his election pledge when it suits him to do so. They point out that by promising elections Abbas ensures that funds continue to come in from Arab and Western governments for infrastructure projects.
According to Walla, the key moment will be the meeting of the Palestinian factions scheduled for 21 March. It is then that the PA will either abandon the elections or press ahead with them. If it is agreed to do the latter, added the news site, Israel then has to decide whether to let the elections proceed and allow Hamas to return to the West Bank or prevent them from being held.