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Five more years of  Netanyahu  after Likud  wins shock victory

Divisive ultra-conservative set for new coalition and fourth term as PM after seeing off Zionist Union challenger Herzog

Mar 2015
Thursday 19th

posted by Morning Star in World

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU began negotiations on forming a new government yesterday after his Likud party scored a shock victory in Israel’s general election.

The result — giving Likud 30 of the Knesset’s 120 seats — placed him well ahead of the Zionist Union, which won 24 seats.

Ultra-conservative Mr Netanyahu is now talking to a number of right and far-right parties including Jewish Home, Kulanu, Yisrael Beiteinu and ultra-Orthodox outfits Shas and United Torah Judaism.

His victory after openly rejecting Palestinian statehood and making racist remarks about his country’s large Arab minority are likely to indefinitely delay any move towards restarting the Middle East peace process.

“The results of the Israeli elections show the success of a campaign platform based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people,” said Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“Now, more than ever, the international community must act.”

The United List of Arab parties, which includes the binational Communist Party-led Hadash, stormed into third place in the elections with 14 seats.

Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti praised its “great achievement as a power against racism, injustice and equality,” but warned that the overall result showed “Israel has chosen apartheid rather than peace — thus bringing an end to the peace camp in Palestine.”

United List and Hadash leader Ayman Odeh said: “Today we are giving our answer to racism and to those who want to exclude us.

“With 14 MPs we will be able to influence decision-making. Nobody will be able to act without the third-largest party.”

Mr Odeh’s pledge that “we, Arabs and Jews, can create a better future with our own hands” was stark in contrast to Mr Netanyahu’s scaremongering over Arabs voting “in droves.”

Hadash MP Dov Khenin said: “A prime minister who campaigns against voting by citizens of an ethnic minority is crossing a red line of incitement and racism.”

International reactions to Mr Netanyahu’s win were muted, with Israel’s allies from the EU to Egypt emphasising that they expected it to reopen peace negotiations with Palestine — although British Prime Minister David Cameron merely tweeted his congratulations and described his country as “one of Israel’s firmest friends” which “looks forward to working with the new government.”

When Labour leader Ed Miliband voted in Parliament in favour of recognising a Palestinian state, Mr Cameron retorted that he had “shown his true colours on Israel.”

by Our Foreign Desk

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