Sunday, July 21, 2019

‘There is no hope’: Pessimism for Palestinians over Israeli elections


By Myriam Purtscher - April 09, 2019
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [Opinion]
Tags: [Israeli Elections] [Mustafa Bargouthi]

Israeli polls opened on Tuesday with current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Lukid party, seeking a fifth term in office.

 

Lukid’s main contender, former military chief of staff Benny Gantz who leads the Blue and White party, remains slightly ahead in the polls as elections open.

 

If Netanyahu is successful in his attempt to retain office, he could become Israel’s longest running Prime Minister.

 

In a last-minute bid for right-wing votes, Netanyahu has vowed to annex all illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected, killing off any hope of a two-state solution.

 

Netanyahu has also stated only he could have won such 'victories’ as last months endorsement from the United States President Donald Trump for Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

 

On the other side, Gantz has promised to unite Israeli society, which he said is divided along religious, political and ethnic lines. Throughout his campaign, Gantz has also placed a strong emphasis on tightening Israel's security.

 

Gantz served in the Israeli military for nearly four decades during which time he oversaw a crack-down on the Second Intifada and waged an indiscriminate war in the Gaza Strip in 2014 that killed 2,200 people – over half of which were civilians.

 

Despite campaign promises, Head of the National Palestine Initiative Dr. Mustafa Bargouthi told Palestine Monitor that in regards to the impact on Palestinians, it does not matter who wins these elections.

 

“There is no difference between Netanyahu and Gantz. Both want to keep occupation, racism and the system of apartheid,” Barghouti said.

 

Barghouti added Palestinians are not betting on any change in Israel as a result of the elections that will take place on Tuesday.

 

“We do not see a difference between Netanyahu and Gantz, or between the Likud camp and the Blue-White camp. Both of which promote continued occupation, settlement colonisation, and the regime of apartheid against the Palestinian people.”

 

Barghouti referred to Netanyahu's recent statements regarding the seizure of all Israeli settlements, which means the annexation of the entire West Bank and destroying the possibility of a Palestinian State.

 

He also drew attention to Gantz's statements and those of his party, from Ya'alon to Lapid, who reject the division of Jerusalem, reject a negotiated solution, reject the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and insist on unilateral Israeli measures.

 

“There is no hope for these elections. The main competition is between right-wing extremists and extreme right-wing extremists,” Barghouti concluded. “Most of whom are stained with the blood of the Palestinian people.”

 

Official election results are expected to be delivered overnight.

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