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Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.

Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party seems likely to lead the new Israeli Government following the elections for the Knesset.

Ann Salter reports for International Business Times:

Most reports suggest that the PM’s position has been weakened, especially given that he called an early election.

Ruth Pollack in The Sydney Morning Herald reports, Deadlocked result enfeebles Netanyahu:

Commentators are already predicting that any coalition Mr Netanyahu may form will be too fragile to last a full four-year term and say the country may to go to the polls again in the next 12 to 18 months.

And while domestic issues such as Israel’s budget deficit and its housing affordability crisis will consume the new government, it is on the key foreign policy issues of Iran and a two-state solution with the Palestinians that Mr Netanyahu may find himself most constrained.

Yair Lapid … his new centre party holds the key to coalition negotiations.
Recriminations in the Prime Minister’s camp began before the polls had even opened, and as Israelis awoke to what could be a month of deadlock in coalition negotiations, the knives were out for Mr Netanyahu and his campaign team.

“Bibi plummets to victory” was the headline on the English-language Haaretz newspaper, using Mr Netanyahu’s nickname.

“In just three months the high-riding, politically invulnerable ‘King Bibi’ has managed to plummet to victory in a technical triumph that has every appearance of debacle,” Haaretz said.

Benjamin Netanyahu … humiliated despite notional victory. Photo: Getty Images
“Netanyahu is a tragic figure,” the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper declared.

The only question was whether the next elections would take place in a year or 18 months, poll analyst Rafi Smith told Israel Radio, as the vote confirmed the right and centre each had 60 seat in the 120-seat Knesset.

“It’s going to be a short-lived Knesset, a pressure cooker, a national-paralysis-government.

The same story is reported, in other words by Al Jazeera:

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has reached out to a new centrist party that advocates a more earnest push on peacemaking with the Palestinians after Israel’s parliamentary election produced a stunning deadlock.

The results on Wednesday defied forecasts that Israel’s next government would veer sharply to the right at a time when the country faces mounting international isolation, growing economic problems and regional turbulence.

A coalition joining parties with dramatically divergent views on peacemaking, the economy and the military draft, could however, easily be headed for gridlock.

This report notes the developing housing shortage in Israel linking it to the settlements on the remaining Arab land. They also not that the twelve Palestinian members of the Knesset are never involved in coalition building, which inflates the right’s advantage in a 60:60 split in the parliament.

Harriet Sherwood for The Guardian notes:

Netanyahu remains on course to continue as prime minister, as his rightwing electoral alliance, Likud-Beiteinu, is the biggest party after winning 31 of 120 seats in the next parliament. But it was a sharp drop from the present combined total of 42 for the two parties.

Yesh Atid, a new centrist party led by the former television personality Yair Lapid, won 19 seats. It concentrated its election campaign on socio-economic issues and removing the exemption for military service for ultra-orthodox Jews.

Netanyahu called Lapid, whose unexpected success hands him a pivotal role in coalition negotiations, as the final results came in to discuss a potential government.

Likud officials quoted the Israeli prime minister as telling Lapid: “We have the opportunity to do great things together”.

But Netanyahu was also putting out feelers to ultra-Orthodox parties which could prove vital in putting together a government, saying he would open coalition talks with them on Thursday.

Juan Cole at Informed Comment uncovers the issue of Palestinian statelessness and lack of representation, suggesting the reality of an Apartheid system, which does not seem to have been commented on elsewhere:

Israel has annexed the Palestinians but is keeping them stateless. There is no other country in the world engaged in so cruel an enterprise. Some countries do subject neighboring territories and annex them, but they give citizenship, or the rights typically enjoyed by citizens, to the people there. The locals may not want that particular political identity, but at least they have a passport and they have the rights of citizens under the law. Moreover, such unincorporated territories are typically tiny compared to the metropole. The 4 million Palestinians are almost as numerous as the 5.5 million Jewish Palestinians (and that is not counting the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, etc., who would go to the West Bank if they could).. The Palestinians are stateless and without basic rights. Their territory has been annexed and they have been kept in legal limbo. When Netanyahu announced that he would build housing on the E-1 tract of Palestinian territory east of Jerusalem, Palestinians put up a tent city on Palestinian-owned private land. Netanyahu had it torn down. Stateless people don’t have real property rights, or any rights at all, and Netanyahu could do as he pleased to them.

Within Israel, the turnout in Tuesday’s election could be as high as 70%, out of over 5 million eligible voters. But in fact turnout was less than half of the people of Israel and its annexed territories. If all the people living under the control of the Israeli government could vote, we would be discussing how many seats in the Knesset went to Hamas, Fatah and the PFLP, and whether Fatah would join a centrist coalition against Netanyahu.

Furthermore Israel is a mostly European immigrant society, something we can identify with here on the SW Pacific littoral. Many of the recent migrants were, Professor Coles says, nominally Jewish. Meanwhile the indigenous population is dispossessed and oppressed. There is an opportunity for peace and reconciliation, which would make great sense.

AS Obama has entered his Second Term, this election outcome may represent an opportunity to move Israel to a peaceful footing – but I am not holding my breath.


Max Blumenthal talks with Scott Horton arguing the election is a victory for the status quo and the dispossession of Palestinians. The two-state solution has been reduced to the Potemkin Village mirage. “It is a One State Reality”, an Apartheid State with continued occupation of the non-enfranchised Palestinians. Challenge to the status quo is coming from the settlers. Obama will ignore the issue as much as possible.

Given Israel is a rascist state, why do Australian parties support them? Obviously, they do not accept Max Blumenthal’s political analysis.



1. ThirteenthLetter - January 25, 2013

You lost all credibility by linking to Juan Cole.

wmmbb - January 25, 2013

I think I lost all credibility by writing off Binyamin Netanyahu. It looks like he will organize a new coalition with the new centre party. There will be strains in any coalition.

In this instance, Professor Cole is correct to point out the disenfranchisement of the Palestinians.

I would like to believe that despite the history, there is a possibility of good will on both sides, and from that might develop a peace and reconciliation process. The more entrenched the parties of force and aggression become the less such an outcome will emerge.

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