By Marwan Bishara
Netanyahu is sure to translate the election results into a new mandate to further Israel’s colonial goals in Palestine.
A Palestinian man reads a local newspaper, which features the Israeli election on its front page, in the southern Gaza Strip [REUTERS]
This will be Benjamin Netanyahu’s fourth and Israel’s 34th government since its establishment in 1948. The 11th coalition government since it entered the US-sponsored “peace process” 24 years ago.
In all likelihood, the new government promises to be another extreme nationalist government led by the man who vowed to continue to do more of the same.
In fact, Netanyahu, who already declared “great victory”, is sure to translate the elections results into a new mandate to further Israel’s colonial goals in Palestine.
With an average of a new government every two years, expect Israel to go to elections or/and establish another coalition by 2017. What shape that government takes depends on what comes next and how the United States and the Palestinians react to the new old reality.
Further to the right
There was no doubt or confusion about Israel’s preferred choice. Despite rising inequality and deepening uncertainty under Netanyahu, Israelis seem to prefer him to the alternative on offer, the Zionist Union.
Netanyahu’s detractor led a campaign under the slogan “Rak lo Netanyahu” (Only not Netanyahu), but Israel decided for the third time in a row; Only Netanyahu!
On the eve of the elections, he didn’t mince his words. Netanyahu made blunt and racist declarations that are bound to define his next mandate.
He made it clear he will not allow a Palestinian state to emerge and hence killed the chances of renewed negotiations with the Palestinians.
He also incited against Israel’s own Palestinian minority, and warned of an international conspiracy against Israel to unseat him. As one journalist put it: “Netanyahu resorts to race-baiting to win elections.”
For those of us who’ve followed the evolution or devolution of Israeli politics over the past few decades, Netanyahu is a natural extension of the move towards the right since the Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973 and its occupation and colonisation of all of historic Palestine ever since.
The rise of Likud to power in 1977, ushered in a new era of right right wing coalitions that supported and deepened Israel’s colonial project in Palestine with the exception of three labour centrist governments (Peres, Rabin, Barak) all of which, incidentally, built no less illegal settlements than their predecessors.
|For those of us who’ve followed the evolution or devolution of Israeli politics over the past few decades, Netanyahu is a natural extension of the move towards the right since the Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973 …|
Clearly, the break with the Obama administration and the international community over Iran and the “peace process” wasn’t enough to sway Israelis from the reckless right.
Unlike the 1992 elections that led to the defeat of Yitzhak Shamir under US pressure, this time around, Israelis continued to rally for Netanyahu despite potential backlash from the West or the Palestinians.
How will Obama react?
As Netanyahu destroyed the two-state solution and announced its death and burial on the eve of the elections, the United States can no longer pretend otherwise, or hide behind the process to avoid making tough choices regarding Israel.
But is there a will on the part of the Obama administration to do something about it?
Theoretically, if there’s truly a will, the world’s superpower can certainly find a way to affect Israel’s future choices. And when you add the issue of the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme, there’s certainly a strategic urgency to contain Israel’s aggressive overreach in Palestine and the region.
But again, it remains to be seen if there’s an American will to act. I am not holding my breath. But it partially depends on the Palestinians and their supporters in the region and beyond.
What are the Palestinians to do?
The PLO leadership under Mahmoud Abbas has excluded all other means of resistance in favour of negotiating a peace deal with Israel based on a two-state solution.
It carried its side of the bargain and implemented all interim agreements with Israel. It even helped secure Israel’s security and the individual security of its illegal settlers, all for the promise of a negotiated settlement.
But now that the promise is broken and the process has evaporated, what are the Palestinians to do about the occupation?
Will Abbas quit? Or will he continue to coordinate security with Israel that is bound to enslave the Palestinians to open-ended occupation?
Will he disband the National Authority that resulted from the interim agreements? Or will he take serious steps to unite with the opposition for a true national unity?
Will the Palestinians then embrace new means of resistance?
Or more fundamentally, will they accept the end of the two-state solution and recognise the Apartheid regime that has long governed them for what it is, and struggle towards a one-state solution – a state for all citizens, all faiths and nationalities?
Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.