Israel elections: another Catastrophe for Palestinians – and for Israel

14.04.2019 - London UK - Silvia Swinden

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Israel elections: another Catastrophe for Palestinians – and for Israel
Sign in front of the Galil school, a joint Arab–Jewish primary school in Israel (Image by Arikk (talk) • CC BY-SA 3.0)

The international community must support the real efforts of genuine organisations working for peace and reconciliation as the only way to change the Israel/Palestine political landscape.

Following the elections Netanyahu is now making his deals with other ultra-right and ultra-religious groups to form his fifth government after failure from his closest opponent Benny Gantz, who by presenting himself as an alliance of centre and left wing ideologies in spite of his right leaning history managed to divert votes from the more pro Palestinian real left, and a partial boycott of the elections by the Israeli Arabs.

There is a general consensus that “Israel’s next coalition stands to be one of the most pro-annexationist parliaments in the history of the state.” (972 Magazine). And with a lot of help from his friend Donald Trump who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and approved the de facto annexation of the Golan Heights (very little in the media about Oil being found there) Netanyahu is consolidating the network of anti-humanist leaders (Trump, Bolosnaro, Duterte, Orban, etc) perfecting the politics of fear/paranoia, discrimination, anti-immigration and violent repression.

Further annexations of settlements in the West Bank as promised during the campaign are likely to strengthen international condemnation and support for the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) so abhorred by the Jewish right (not really “Zionism” which referring to the project for Jews to have a homeland to be a refuge from massacres and later the Holocaust, with both right and left wing as well as non-Jewish supporters, has become a term of abuse linked to conspiracy theories and the worst historical anti-Semitic tropes. A good discussion about it appears on the BBC “What’s the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?”. Unfortunately it concludes “agreement on how exactly the two relate appears elusive”.) 

This election is very bad for those living in the would-be Palestinian State, not only because it entrenches the denial of a right to having their own country but also because it gives more power to its more extremist elements, such as I-told-you-so Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They will probably refuse to acknowledge that their missiles have fuelled even more the fear that makes Israelis vote for fear-monger-in-chief Natanyahu but this permanent tug of war between the most violent factions on both sides stifles the voices of the moderate and nonviolent parties. It is also very bad for the Israeli Arabs as it consolidates their status as second class citizens through “Jewish State” Laws.

DIANA BUTTU, Palestinian attorney interviewed in Democracy Now!: “In terms of the reaction vis-à-vis the outcome that we’ve seen, this was, in effect—for Palestinians at least, this was an election in which you either choose Trump or you choose Trump. The positions that both Likud took and Benny Gantz took were virtually indistinguishable, particularly when it came to Palestinians. They bragged about how much they were going to beat up on Palestinians, and then took their voters as a result. So, it’s not at all surprising that we see this outcome, given that we really had two candidates that were quite mirroring one another when it came to this election. In terms of the voter turnout, there were a number of factors in terms of low Palestinian voter turnout. One was the fact that a number of people have ideologically chosen to boycott. And then others was because there was a level of voter intimidation and people also believing that their MKs, their members of Knesset, were unable to deliver.”

It is also bad for Israel. The political analyst Alon Ben-Meir considers that “The Election Will Obliterate The Face Of Israel As We Know It”… “Unlike any previous right-wing Israeli government, the formation of a new government under Netanyahu may well be the most decisive and consequential for Israel as we know it. This is nothing short of a turning point in Israel’s history, as its reactionary, zealous, messianic, and extreme right-wing leaders choose more territory over the future security and prosperity of Israel, forfeiting its democracy and shattering the centuries-old dream of the Jews to establish an independent, free, secure home and live in peace. It is a choice that has put Israel on the fast track toward the abyss.”  

Apart from financial, political and practical support for Peace and Reconciliation projects operation in the region and abroad (we mentioned some in a previous article) it is urgent to create strong and enforceable arms embargoes (ie both the UK and the US sells weapons to Israel, the US also arms Hamas via Qatar, and Iran does so with Islamic Jihad.)

Categories: Middle East, Opinions, Peace and Disarmament, Politics
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