Skip to main content

Elections in Israel: the outcome. What might the Palestinian territories expect?

The introduction on the elections can be found here.

According to most forecasts, incumbent Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's alliance won the parliamentary elections, and its leader duly claimed (a humbling) victory. But, as almost no one predicted, the process leading to the formation of a new government has not been as smooth as he would have liked, for the second place was surprisingly awarded to a complete newcomer, Yair Lapid, and his party Yesh Atid ("There is a future"). Naftali Bennett's "Jewish House Party" also did well, although not as well as expected. Moreover, both centrist and leftist parties made significant gains. Meanwhile, far-right parties did not fare as well as polls had indicated. The outcome also showed a new generation is being given shape to, for young voters voted for new candidates that repeatedly publicly denounced their being tired of the never-changing "old regime" of Netanyahu, Lieberman, Barak and the likes. Maybe I was wrong and there is hope in Israel after all? (maybe I shouldn't act so hastily this time either)

So, the results announced by the Electoral Commission shed a virtual tie in the number of seats won by the right and the left-wing blocks. Which partners will Mr Netanyahu was going to choose to enter into a coalition with? A significant part of the voters shown they want change, was Bibi going to listen to their demands and yield in certain milestones of his political stance, such as security and foreign policy? Since day one, he conceded he will have to pledge reform on economic and social issues, as Mr Lapid had hinted he was ready to enter into talks if Netanyahu engaged in social reform leading to the improvement of a weary welfare system. Nonetheless, Israel's PM also affirmed he will remain steadfast in everything concerning regional issues, thus implicitly promising an ongoing stalemate of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He will for sure keep on being particularly worried about Iran's nuclear programme, a concern shared by almost every candidate. However, and even if the campaigns did not say so, security and stability remain the primary concern for all, both politicians and voters.

Finally, after weeks of nail-biting and political bickering, Netanyahu has finally announced who the members of his "dream team" will be. He has done so after asking for an extension, but before welcoming President Obama, who is due in the country next week. Bibi, who will also assume the Foreign Affairs portfolio for a while, and Lieberman will enter into a coalition with two centrist parties: Yesh Atid and Hadnua. A far-right formation, Hayehudi, will also be part of the next Government, and will surely press for settler's rights, moreover if we take into account its leader, Naftali Bennet, will be granted the post of Economy minister and his party will control the Housing ministry. Surprisingly, though, Netanyahu has decided not to ally with long-time accomplices ultra-orthodox parties this time, and for the first time since 1977, probably bearing in mind the struggles he has been forced to go through during the last legislature as a result of these parties' intransigent stance on many issues. One of these issues is the future of haredim (ultra-orthodox dedicated to study the sacred texts) individuals, a cause Yair Lapid has been publicly fighting for. The latter wants, amongst other things, this growing population to pay taxes and serve in the army, as the rest of the Israeli people do, and many predict he will get his way thanks to his being appointed Finance minister.

Nevertheless, there is still hope for Palestinians. Even though "rising star" Benett, who's shown too hawkish an stance for his age, bluntly rejects any kind of negotiations with the Palestinians, for he opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, man of the year and TV Star Lapid has repeatedly said he is looking forward to a revival of the Middle East Peace Process. And, above all, Netanyahu has somewhat given breathing space to the dove of peace by appointing centrist Tzipi Livni (who won the 2009 elections but failed to form a coalition), practically the only one who did speak out about the need to revitalize the peace process, Minister of Justice and exclusive negotiator with the Palestinians. Should the talks resume, that is.

The new coalition is likely going to be a weak one, though. For one, it will only comprise 68 of the Knesset's 120 seats, and will need help from other parties when passing vital laws and adopting critical measures. On the other hand, it is an heterogeneous group, whose stances regarding key files are deeply opposed. Only time will tell, as always, what the future may bring for Palestine.


Popular posts from this blog


Aunque el título pueda referirse a uns de las varias mudanzas a los que me conocéis personalmente estáis acostumbrados, se refiere simplemente a este humilde blog, que tantas alegrias me ha dado. A partir de ahora podréis encontrar todos mis artículos en la página Although the title could well refer to one of the rushed and unpredictable decisions those amongst you who know me are by now you used to, 'migrating' refers here to the new site this humble blog - which has given me so much joy - is moving to. From now on you can find all of my articles on the page

Libros, películas, series y una canción para entender Israel

From Beirut to Jerusalem , Thomas Friedman (2002) Este es un libro de referencia a la hora de conocer Israel para muchas de las personas que he conocido cuando he estado en y/o hablado de Oriente Medio. Aunque teniendo en cuenta  en lo que Thomas Friedman se ha convertido , quizás recomendar uno de sus obras no parezca una introducción prometedora. En él, el periodista/comentarista cuenta en primera persona su paso como corresponsal por dos de las ciudades más simbólicas de la región en una época turbulenta como fueron los 80, desgranando en el caso del Líbano las aristas del conflicto que asolaba por aquel entonces el país, y en el caso de Israel las características y divisiones de la sociedad israelí, no únicamente desde el punto de vista ideológico en relación con el conflicto con Palestina, sino teniendo también en cuenta otros condicionantes clave, como puede ser el origen, la práctica religiosa, o las condiciones socioeconómicas.   Un grupo de israelíes celebran con band

East Jerusalemites need to be a priority in any new strategy for the Israel-Palestinian conflict

U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 6th announcement, in which he recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, shed light on the significance and symbolism of the city. The priority of the MEPP is to maintain the viability of the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. Any formula acceptable to both sides needs a political solution for Jerusalem and its holy places. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are however increasingly becoming culturally, economically and socially marginalised amid institutional inertia, political and physical separation from the West Bank, as well as demographic pressures. 2017 has been a year brimming with commemorations related in one way or the other to what has come to be known as the Israel/Palestine conflict. Various events cast light on its most intractable issue: Jerusalem. Back in July, East Jerusalemites reunited and joined forces with Palestinians from the rest of the West Bank as a consequence of the crisis over I