Israel has already had 5 elections in the past 4 years. The results of the latest election have had a significant impact on segments such as the Israelis, Palestinians, Arab, and Jewish citizens. Particularly affecting Palestinians, who showed a low turnout in the elections.
Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset, is composed of 120 members coming from coalition parties. There is also a Prime Minister. Both bodies can maintain power for 4 years. That being said, Israel has been facing a political crisis. This is due to parties’ inefficiency to form a stable coalition, and the lack of majority seats from one party. Under those circumstances, there have been 5 elections since 2019. For the latest election, the main political opponents were the current PM, Yair Lapid from the centrist-jewish party, and former PM Benjamin Netanyahu from the far-right party. This election had a turnout of 71%, the highest since 2015, indicating the population’s desire to end the previous government’s instability.
The voting resulted in the victory of Netanyahu – the longest-serving PM of Israel. Netanyahu, also known as Bibi, has polarised affection from the public. This figure has been related to corruption scandals and high racism against Palestinians in the past. Throughout the years, his government has moved Israel towards a far-right ideology, and increased xenophobia in the nation. His party, Likud, is known to oppose the two-state solution and Palestinian self-determination. Instead, it promotes the construction of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian lands. Their goal is to eliminate the possibility of a Palestine state by illegally occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In this election, Palestinians have been reluctant to vote, due to the lack of efficiency and change of the Palestinian parties. In turn, this affected the representation of this segment in the Knesset.
Palestinian writer, Mohamad Kadan expressed, “I will be one of the many Palestinians who will not cast a ballot. My hope is that the low turnout will be a wake-up call for the Palestinian political class and trigger an important open debate within the community for the way forward.” As a result, Palestinians are once again in a disfavored position, and lacking a political voice. The Palestinian coalition in the Knesset, the Joint List, disappointed many Palestinians by supporting a Zionist PM. Moreover, Joint List leaders didn’t defend all of their interests and complied with many, not ideal, Israeli measures.
Furthermore, during the election period, violence in Palestinian settlements greatly increased. Interestingly, these violent acts have been in the hands of Israeli military and authorities. Netanyahu pledged to perform a massive construction project in the West Bank settlements, pushing away Palestinians. As a result, they also demolished hundreds of structures in the region. Thus, damaging all efforts to maintain peace between both factions.
According to Hussein al-Sheikh, Secretary General of the PLO executive committee, Palestinian authorities won’t react to the threats posed by the new government until assessing the official policy and actions they will undertake. Palestinian officials are interested in engaging in peace talks with Israel to prevent further damage.
Looking into the future, if the Israeli government maintains this standpoint, more external intervention in the area can be expected – elevating tensions to another level.