The Israeli Election

In most polls PM Netanyahu and his center-right Likud Party is running neck and neck with the Blue-White coalition party of former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and his partner Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a future) Party.  They are projected to win ca. 29-30 seats each in the Knesset at the election on April 9, with B&W slightly ahead.  But, overall the center right has more votes than the center left, due to coalition with many smaller parties, and so should be able to form the next government, aside from any external issues, such as Netanyahu being indicted for crimes such as corruption by the Israeli Attorney General.

However, Netanyahu injected a new and important issue into the campaign when he stated yesterday that if elected he will annex to Israel those parts of the West Bank in which Israelis have major settlements.  This statement is clearly designed to take votes away from the small far right parties.  I strongly approve of this policy, since in international law the only sovereign successor of the British Mandate, namely Israel, has the right to inherit all the Land previously occupied by the British.  Furthermore, this move should have been made years ago, and once done will preclude all spurious claims by Palestinian Arabs to a State in this area, thus resolving the dispute.   Where Israel has annexed previous Land in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, these have become integral parts of the State of Israel, and this should be the case with areas of the West Bank (Judah and Shomron) that are inhabited by Israelis.  These areas were assigned to Israeli control under the Oslo Accords agreed with the Palestinians in 1993/5.  This will presumably exclude the areas of the 7 cities of the Palestine Authority where ca. 99% of the West Bank Arab population in fact live.

It will be very interesting to see how this new election promise will affect the polling results.  Netanyahu is the only capable Israeli leader who could carry through this new policy.  It is somewhat akin to the promise by Pres. Trump to build a Wall along the Mexican border, not many politicians could have carried this through and it certainly garnered him many votes.  I see the two issues as parallel significant crises for the two countries, the immigration of illegal Mexicans into the US and the control by violent Palestinian factions of areas adjacent to major Israeli settlements.  By taking decisive action these leaders both represent and lead public opinion on these critical issues.

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