To follow up on the last post about Israel – Mr Netanyahu, as expected, won the election – but not entirely as expected – as he came out more weakened and reliant on other parties than ever before.
When 99 percent of the votes were counted, it was revealed Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party and the ultranationalist party Yisrael Beiteinu lost a quarter of their usual seats in parliament.
A new centrist party however, Yesh Atid, which is in favour of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, came out with a surprising success in the exit polls. Yesh Atid, it turned out, would be a key player in the future coalition government of Israel.
Yesh Atid demands to resume negotiations with Palestine, address Iran’s nuclear programme and improve peace efforts with Palestine. This essentially means the Israeli government would be less-right wing than was predicted only a week ago.
The situation of having coalition as such would undoubtedly improve Netanyahu’s ties with the Obama administration and Israel would no longer be so internationally isolated.
Seemingly, this appears to be a win win situation for both Palestine and Israel. The outcome of the election could prove to be one of the most powerful stepping stones in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite all of this however, the Palestinians have threatened to sue Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) if Israel decides to go ahead with plans to build new Jewish settlements east of Jerusalem – plans which had been made in December last year when Israel advanced a project to build hundreds of homes in East Jerusalem.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said to the UN Security Councl the decision now depended on the new Israeli government
Speaking at the UN Security Council, Mr Malki said “Bringing Jewish settlers into this zone would be crossing a red line.”
“If Israel would like to go further by implementing the E1 plan and the other related plans around Jerusalem, then yes, we would be going to the International Criminal Court,” he told the UN Security Council.
“We would have no other choice. It depends on the Israeli decision. Israel knows very well our position.”
This is the first time Palestine has addressed the ICC after becoming eligible to join the ICC after the UN voted to upgrade their status last November.
The controversial project to build hundreds of homes in West Jerusalem came as a direct response to the UN General Assembly’s decision to give the Palestinians this power to act as a non-member observer state.
What will happen – again – is difficult to tell. My prediction however, is the political future of Israel and Palestine never looked better. (Much to the contrary of what I wrote in the previous post.)