The general election held on 9th April is a do or die for current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If elected this would make Netanyahu him the longest serving Prime Minister in the country’s history. Although, if he loses the corruption charges against him could land him in jail. Both the primary candidates in the election are right-wing, the centre-left parties are smaller in numbers according to recent polls. The other prime candidate is Benny Gantz former Lieutenant General of the IDF turned politician.
According to polls, the election will be the closest in recent years, this would mean a coalition with other smaller parties would decide who would form the government. Furthermore, in case of a tie which looks highly likely the President will call upon one of the parties depending on the circumstances to form the next government. Now, for Netanyahu, a centre-right politician with huge corruption charges against him has to make it to office yet again to avoid jail time. It is suggested, Netanyahu is going to form an alliance with the far-right parties including the influential Zehut party. As announced a day prior to the election, he would annex West Bank of Palestine to appease the far-right parties to enable him to win the election.
For Israel’s 21st general election the primary agenda for both the key parties have been the “security issue”. Iran is the primary concern and there has been no real talk of solving the Palestinian crisis. Benny Gantz has announced a “separation” between Israel and Palestine, however, did not mention anything about allowing a Palestinian state to be established. Further, Gantz mentioned the securitisation of the Jordan Valley is one of his primary concerns.
However, for Netanyahu to appease the far-right elements has suggested the annexation of West Bank of Palestine and also has been reassured by his personal friend President of the US Donald Trump to recognise Golan Heights as Israeli territory (Syrian territory occupied by Israel in 1967). Both the promises made by Netanyahu contradicts International Law and the UNSC mandates. This makes Netanyahu the more desperate candidate willing to go beyond the usual norms to win the election as this may land him and his wife in jail on corruption charges.
Earlier on 9th April, in Arab regions of Israel, the Likud party of Netanyahu were caught filming the polling stations. This is illegal according to the laws. The Jewish Times reported at least 1,200 cameras were secretly placed in the Arab polling stations. This created controversy as they justified the action by suggesting it was there to ‘ensure fair votes’.
On the prospect of geopolitics, the reelection of Netanyahu would have a significant impact on the greater Middle East. Donald Trump’s administration has been quite openly been pro-Israel further with his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner has apparently “completed” the “new Middle East Peace Plan”. It is evident from the Trump Administration due to the activities of Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the Administration is following pro-Israeli rhetoric from the start. This so-called Peace Plan will allow Israel to claim sovereignty and achieve annexation over West Bank and Golan Heights. This would be done through getting the “Sunni-Majority” Gulf Arab Kingdoms to unite with Israel under the pretext of fighting against the “Shia” Iran and its growing influence.
While the Saudis are fighting in Yemen a proxy between Iran and Saudi Arabia, followed by the Syrian debacle for the West, Israel and Gulf Arabs, and eventually Trump’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “Terrorist” organisation all plays into the plan. This portrays the Kushner led “Peace Plan” of uniting the Gulf Arab Kingdoms including Jordan to unite against the Iranian led bloc. This evidently means the Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian territories will be sacrificed to Israel in the name of fighting Iran and its growing influence.
Image Credit: GulfNews.com