March 22, 2021
- Hamas, which had acceded not to contest the presidential elections, then agreed to allow for legislative polls to take place two months before presidential elections
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used an Arab proverb to rebuff attempts by Israelis to intervene in the Palestinian elections. (Reuters/File)
By Arab News
AMMAN – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used an Arab proverb to rebuff attempts by Israelis to intervene in the Palestinian elections.
Jibril Rajoub, the secretary of the Fatah movement, said the head of Shabak (internal Israeli elections), Nadav Argaman, tried to stop their efforts to create a joint list with Hamas.
“He visited the Palestinian presidential compound and made threats to all of us,” Rajoub said on Palestine TV. The Israeli official who said he was carrying a message from the Israeli prime minister was accompanied by an American official. Palestinian sources say that they believe the US official is part of a US intelligence service.
Abbas reportedly answered the Israeli official, who is fluent in Arabic, using an Arabic proverb: “Drink your coffee and may God be with you.” It is a polite way of rejecting the request.
Lina Haddad, an expert on Arab proverbs, said that people use proverbs as an indirect way of avoiding saying something harsh.
“He wanted to send a message that I am being kind to you by serving you coffee as a guest of mine but do not abuse my hospitality,” Haddad told Arab News.
Rajoub fiercely criticized Argaman’s boss, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying he “is worse than Mussolini.”