If Netanyahu is replaced, things might actually get worse for Palestinians.
As election results started pouring in Tuesday night, one could hear a sigh of relief – and even some cries of joy – among Israelis who identify with the center-left.
According to near-final results, the right absorbed a serious blow. Its voter intimidation campaign failed to deter Palestinian citizens of Israel from going to the polling stations, and may have actually backfired, giving the Joint List additional mandates. Meanwhile, the Zionist left parties held on to the same number of seats as in the previous election.
The Netanyahu era is probably coming to an end. His options are limited: he might join a unity government with Blue and White, which means the latter would backtrack on its campaign promise not to sit with Netanyahu; his own party might oust him; or there might be a third election. In any case, Netanyahu won’t be able to prevent the Attorney General from issuing criminal indictments against him; he will soon be forced to step aside.
This is no small matter. Given political patterns in Israel over the past decade, the departure of Netanyahu might signal a shift in a new direction. We might be seeing the last days of a decade-long, Trump-like style of leadership based on racist rhetoric toward Palestinian citizens, left-wing NGOs, the media, and the judicial system. This is indeed a reason to rejoice.
The occupation, however, is not going anywhere. Israeli military control over the day-to-day lives of millions of Palestinians in the West Bank, the siege on Gaza, and the structural discrimination against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem are all here to stay. None of these three aforementioned groups were allowed to vote for the government that decides their fate.
Likud, which is likely to play a central role in the next government (with or without Netanyahu), will not end the occupation or the siege. Neither will Avigdor Liberman, a settler who has historically incited against Palestinians. Nor will Blue and White, a party run by a group of former IDF generals who presided over the occupation, and who have already made a career out of planning to bomb Gaza “back to the...Read More