Final results in Israel could boost Netanyahu’s lead

14 April, 2019, 08:12 | Author: Carlos George
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on course for a fifth term in office

Israel's millennials helped re-elect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - and are the driving force in a rising ultra-Orthodox population, The Wall Street Journal reported. "Netanyahu gathered all of the extremists and cannibalized his partners".

Retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance, speaks before supporters at the alliance headquarters in Tel Aviv, April 10, 2019.

With all of the votes counted, checked and rechecked, Netanyahu's Likud party edged past its rival Blue and White party with 26.45 percent of the vote to win 36 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, gaining one more seat in the adjusted final tally.

Netanyahu's campaign against Arab politicians, together with a new alliance with anti-Arab extremists and the passage previous year of a contentious nation-state law that enshrined Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people alone, deepened calls for an election boycott in Arab communities. Japan has continued to identify its differences with the US on key Middle East issues, from Israel to Iran (it prefers engagement with Tehran to isolation, the Trump administration's default policy).

"Trump warmly congratulated (me) and the Israeli people", Netanyahu tweeted.

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Two weeks before the election, Trump signed a proclamation, with Netanyahu at his side at the White House, recognising Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. Netanyahu has obviously made good electoral capital of these gifts - awaiting the offering expected to come wrapped up in the so-called peace plan that Trump is concocting - but their political fallout will now have to be dealt with, given that none of them serve Israel's real interests.

Gantz did not call Netanyahu to concede directly, but said he "accepted he decision of the nation". "I think we have now a better chance with Bibi having won", he said, referring to Netanyahu, who leads the conservative Likud party, by his nickname.

During the election campaign, Netanyahu highlighted his close relationship with Trump, erecting billboards showing the two leaders smiling and shaking hands.

Commenting on the election, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "Israelis have voted to preserve the status quo".

The last round of USA -brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014. Taking the West Bank would antagonize even governments in the region that share Netanyahu's assessment of regional threats - such as Saudi Arabia. We are talking about no less than 400 settlements (housing at least 400,000 settlers), all deemed illegal under global law, as they violate the law of occupation.

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