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September 18, 2019

Nothing will happen

Opinion

September 18, 2019

Before a single vote is cast in Israel’s second national election this year, two disturbing facts are clear: the outcome will be as muddled as it was after the April contest and whoever wins, despite the permanent state of denial in which Western liberals find themselves, Israel/Palestine has become one state – an Apartheid state.

Following April’s election, unable to form a governing coalition of 61 Knesset members, Netanyahu called for a new election, hoping to improve his prospects. During the past five months, he pulled out all the stops. He bombed three countries – Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. He announced that if he wins this new contest, he will annex the Jordan Valley in addition to settlements and outposts spread throughout the West Bank.

He accelerated his incitement against the Palestinian citizens of Israel including a statement that “the Arabs are trying to steal the election” and an incendiary Facebook post claiming that “The Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children, and men” (while Netanyahu denied personal responsibility for the post, most commentators dismissed the denial). And he coerced members of his own party to pledge support for his immunity from prosecution for the multiple corruption charges he is currently facing.

Even with all of this, polls are showing that Netanyahu and his coalition partners will fare no better than they did in April. In fact, it appears that neither Netanyahu’s coalition nor the main opposition to his continued rule have moved beyond the numbers they had in April. The only significant growth appears to be among the ultra-religious and the right-wing secular nationalists. While Netanyahu might like to bring them both into his government, thus giving him in excess of a majority, the secular nationalists are ideologically opposed to the ultra-religious and will not join a government that includes them.

At the same time, some of the opposition might be inclined to join a government with Netanyahu’s Likud Party, but at a steep price – namely, that he step down as head of the coalition. Since he is desperate to remain in power to avoid prosecution and humiliation, it is unlikely he will accept. This is precisely why he insisted that his party members pledge loyalty before the election.

Pre-election polls demonstrate that the main opposition coalition, Blue and White, will also have difficulty assembling 61 Knesset seats. An additional problem facing Blue and White’s chances of forming a government is that even the most optimistic tallies of their Knesset counts include the 10-11 seats that will go to the Joint List of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.

The leaders of Blue and White have said that they will not form a government dependent on Joint List members and, for their part, the Joint List leaders have said they will only join a governing coalition that agrees to guarantee equality for the Arab citizens of Israel and agrees to end the occupation of Palestinian lands – demands the Blue and White leaders have rejected.

As a result, we are back to where we started with an election yielding no outcome other than confusion and rancor.

What’s also clear, is that regardless of who wins – if, in fact, anyone does – there will be no change in the reality faced by Palestinians. There will be no end of the occupation and no two-state solution. Israeli politics have moved so far to the right, that it is hard to understand how or why the US media continues to refer to Netanyahu’s opposition – as a “center-left” coalition. Whatever the “left” means in this formulation, it most certainly doesn’t mean anything related to Palestinians, peace, and human rights.

Like Netanyahu, Blue and White maintains that the annexation of Jerusalem and the other Palestinian lands around the city will remain. They have claimed that they too support extending Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the settlements in the West Bank.

Maybe the one area where they differ from Netanyahu is in their charge that he has coddled Hamas in Gaza. The Blue and White leader has called, instead, for a major military operation to end the Islamist’s rule in the Strip. Blue and White has also rejected the Palestinian citizens of Israel’s demands to cancel the notorious “Jewish Nation State” law – which maintains that Jews have exclusive rights to national self-determination in “the Land of Israel” and denies full rights to Arab citizens of the state.

Excerpted from: ‘An Israeli Election That Will Decide Nothing’.

Courtesy: Commondreams.org

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