Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Palestinians are concerned with the likelihood that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will retain power in the nation's elections Tuesday.
Honaida Ghanim, general director of The Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies, said Palestinians are following the parliamentary elections with "great concern" about the vision of a Palestinian state.
"There is real fear that this government, especially under Netanyahu's leadership, is ready to go to the extreme in order to remain in power," Ghanim said.
Palestinians hope to establish their own state with East Jerusalem as its capital, but Israeli politicians, particularly Netanyahu, have opposed the idea.
Netanyahu has promised to annex the West Bank's Jordan Valley if his government remains in power.
"If Netanyahu goes away, it will have a direct impact on the region and the Palestinian issue in particular, not a radical one, but at least it will change the course and way of dealing," Palestinian writer Esmat Mansour said.
More than 2.5 million Palestinians live under Israeli military rule among 600,000 Israeli settlers. Palestinians living in the non-annexed portions of the West Bank do not have Israeli citizenship or voting rights in Israel.
Netanyahu on Sunday held a weekly Cabinet meeting at the Jordan Valley, the first time in nearly two decades that the government met in an occupied territory. Israel captured the land during the Six Day War in 1967.
Netanyahu said annexing the Jordan Valley, which straddles the Jordanian border and the northern Dead Sea, "guarantees that the military will be here forever."
The expansion of Israel to the east would give the country "strategic depth," he said.
The prime minister said spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump over the phone on Saturday regarding a defense treaty between the two nations.
"Over the weekend, I spoke with my friend President Donald Trump. We agreed to advance a historic defensive alliance between the U.S. and Israel at our upcoming meeting at the U.N. General Assembly," he said.
Trump posted on Twitter on Saturday: "I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month!"
Final polls released last week ahead of elections Tuesday showed Netanyahu nearing a right-wing coalition, but just barely failing to acquire the seats necessary.
The surveys showed the potential of a right-wing coalition earning as many as 59 seats, just short of the 61 necessary for a majority in the 120-seat parliament known as the Knesset.