A Palestinian walks past a turnstyle toward an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank. (Photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinians Pessimistic over Israeli Elections

Voices for peace silenced in vote, official says


The Palestinian people see the Israeli election as a matter of routine, with almost no hope for progress, as the majority believes that it won’t result in anything positive or change anything in favor of Palestine – but rather the opposite, believing the right-wing Likud party led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is going to form the next government.

“Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians has never changed since the beginning of the occupation,” Muner al-Zuhob, head of the Fatah party’s media office, told The Media Line, saying that every Israeli government has been against Palestinian rights.

“The Israeli society, government and political parties all favor dividing the Palestinian land and taking it over,” he said.

Zuhob cited election material put out by Israel’s parties, saying they were competing to see who could take more rights away from the Palestinian people.

“At the end of the day, a lot of occupiers came to this area, and Netanyahu won’t be the last,” Zuhob said.

A senior Palestinian official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told The Media Line that peace would not be an option for any Israeli government formed after the vote.

“All of the Israeli parties and individuals that call and advocate for peace have been silenced,” the official said. “Whatever government is coming is going to support the illegal settlements and settlers against the Palestinian people and against any hope to establish an independent Palestinian state in the near future.”

Omar Ja’arah, a Palestinian analyst of Israeli affairs, said that Netanyahu would be the “king of Israel” if he wins.

“Netanyahu’s strategy during his first government [1996-1999] and the current one doesn’t include peace for the Palestinians or a solution [to the conflict],” Ja’arah said.

He added that Netanyahu’s aim was to take more land, and that with American support, this was more obvious than ever.

“That’s why he is accused in Israel of lacking a vision in dealing with the Palestinians,” Ja’arah said.

He stressed, however, that Netanyahu had been weakened by corruption allegations against himself and his wife, Sara, as well as by the new Blue and White party. Moreover, the latest truce with Hamas in the Gaza Strip had some in Israel viewing Netanyahu as fearing the Islamist group.

Ja’arah added that in the end, any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or any substantial change on the ground would depend on the actions of the Trump Administration.

“It isn’t about who is going to win the elections, but rather what the Americans want,” he said.

Most analysts agree that Arab nations − not to mention the Palestinian leadership − would reject any peace proposal not based on the two-state paradigm. In any case, the Trump peace team will face an uphill battle given that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly refused to engage in any American-led negotiations. Moreover, he has been boycotting US officials since Washington’s recognition in December 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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