Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Government won, but on thin Ice, Social Policy, Peace and Palestine lost.
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) After a “Cliffhanger” election and after 95 % of the votes were counted, the electoral commission, late on Tuesday evening, published the results of Israel´s Parliamentary Elections 2013. Benjamin (Bibi the Bomb) Netanyahu and the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu coalition have won a marginal victory. The coalition is significantly weakened. The real winner is the extremist, right-wing “Our House Israel” , lead by Avigdor Lieberman on whom it will depend whether the coalition government will survive the coming legislative period or not. The clear losers are Social Policy, the so-called peace Process and the Palestinians.
Shortly after midnight Benjamin Netanyahu gave a short speech, thanking those who, as he put it, had shown trust into him and into Israel. Natanyahu was restraining himself and kept the speech short. The results of the election guaranty the continuation of the polarization of Israeli politics and an increased social polarization of Israel´s society.
The results of the election, briefly:
The coalition, led by Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman won 31 seats. An unexpectedly bad result, since the latest polls had predicted the the coalition would win 42 seats in the Knesset, Israel´s Parliament. Netanyahu just barely hun on to his office of Prime Minister of Israel for the coming legislative period.
To the surprise of many, the Yesh Atid (There is a Future) Party, led by the journalist Yair Lapid, won 19 of the seats in the Knesset. Yesh Atid has thus become the second largest party in Israel´s Parliament.
The Likud Party, led by Ehud Barak could only secure 15 of the seats and is only the third largest of the parties in the Knesset.
The religious, sephardic Shas (Shomrei Sfarad, lit Sfarat) Party, The Guardians of the Thora, won 11 seats and has thus gotten into the powerful position of being the party that can tip the balance one way or the other. It can, in other words, secure the survival of the coalition or bring about premature elections, and their support will be coming at a price.
The Habayit Hayehudi (The Hewish House) won 11 seats in the Knesset.
The United Thora Jewish Alliance won 7 seats.
The Hatnua Party, led by Israel´s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni suffered a significant defeat and only secured 6 seats in the Knesset.
The Meretz Party surprisingly succeeded at securing 6 seats in the Knesset.
The United Arab List only managed to secure 5 seats. Thus the Arab segment of Israel´s population will also in this legislative period only be marginally represented. Israel is considering itself as a Jewish State and several of the Lists members are, not wiithout reason, complaining about repression.
The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, Hadash, could only secure 4 seats in the Knesset.
The National Democratic Union, Balad Party, only won 3 of the seats in the Knesset.
The Kadima Party continued its decline and series of defeats, and only secured 2 seats.
The elections results thus gave 60 seats to the Right Wing Parties and 52 seats to what many in Israel would describe as the Center- or Moderate Left. The new Netanyahu government will be a government that has to maneuver on thin ice, each time the Center Left and left manage to rally behind a joint program.
Netanyahu will have to rely on the extreme right-wing Yesh Atid Party and its 19 mandates. The Arab parties won a total of 12 seats in the Knesset. Their 12 seats however, will barely be sufficient to significantly influence the discourse regarding Palestine and that of Palestinians in Israel. It may be that they will be able to negotiate with the center-Left on some issues. However, Center-Left Parties usually sharpen their anti Palestinian rhetoric after a lost election.
Only 66 % of the electorate participated in the elections, which is especially significant if one is taking into account the the participation among military personnel is estimated to be 80 %. 40,000 of approximately 3,7 million voters were disqualified.
The move to the right during the elections will most likely result in increased dissatisfaction about the social issues, which have led to regular mass protests over the course of the recent years. It is to be expected that also problems with racism and the oppression of African immigrants and migrant workers will become aggravated.
During the last days of the elections Netanyahu made a number of categorical statements about Palestine, stating that he would build more settlements, that he would not ever remove a single outpost or settlement, that he would not recognize the state of Palestine and that the most he was willing to negotiate about was “granting Palestinians a limited form of autonomy in Gaza and in some of the enclaves in the Westbank”.
A Netanyahu led government on thin ice will also result in an aggravation of Israeli and most likely also US policy toward Iran. Even though US Intelligence Services, based on qualified analysis, state that Iran is not about to develop nuclear weapons, it is very likely that the Netanyahu government also will aggravate its polemic against Iran. Adhering to tradition, the Netanyahu government will have a propensity toward aggravating the anti Iran, anti Hezbollah, anti Palestine polemic then, when domestic and social issues are threatening the survival of the government.