Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

Changing the Face of Israel

Translation- Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) attends a Likud party session at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on April 30, 2019. Photo AFP

Netanyahu’s reelection should give serious pause to every Jew and friend of Israel, as the consequences for Israel’s future will be extremely dire.

By: Alon Ben-Meir

The result of the Israeli election has demonstrated that the Israeli public’s movement to the right is now consolidated, and that its prospective reversal to the center and left-of-center is becoming increasingly unlikely.

Elections have consequences

This outcome should give serious pause to every Jew and friend of Israel, as the consequences for Israel’s future will be extremely dire.

It will allow the newly-expected right-wing government led by Netanyahu to take any measure of his choosing to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. This will further undermine Israel’s democratic and Jewish foundation.

No more two-state solution

The consequences of this election and the certainty of forming a right-wing government led by Netanyahu are hard to exaggerate.

To start with, if there had been any small prospect of a two-state solution, it has now practically vanished completely under his watch. This in and of itself will further galvanize Palestinian extremism, which undoubtedly would lead to more frequent violence that could fuel long-term bloodshed between the two sides.

Netanyahu and his partners will now have a freer hand to act as he has already done, to further change the face of Israel. They will:

• diminish the role of the judiciary;

• violate international conventions, specifically in regards to the occupied territories;

• implement far harsher methods to solidify the occupation; and

• certainly open the door for further annexation of significant parts of the West Bank, as Netanyahu promised to do if he were re-elected.

There is no doubt that Netanyahu’s new coalition, regardless of political differences, will stick together to create new, irreversible facts on the ground that will bury the prospect of a two-state solution.

In addition, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights by Trump has rendered a major blow to the prospect of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.

Israel’s regional isolation will increase

Translation- Benny Gantz
Retired Israeli general Benny Gantz (C), one of the leaders of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance, greets supporters at the alliance headquarters in Tel Aviv on April 10, 2019. Photo AFP

Sadly, while most of the Arab countries were edging ever closer to Israel in recent years because of their common enemy Iran, the result of these elections will certainly deter further improvement of relations between Israel and Arab states. As a result, Israel’s regional isolation will only increase.

Moreover, Israel’s very democracy, which has for past few years been teetering on the edge, is now poised to fall.

Last summer’s Basic Law formally declared Israel to be the nation-state of the Jewish people, which is outright discrimination against Israeli Arabs and other non-Jewish minorities.

The The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) and other punitive measures against Israel will become a common cause supported by an increasing number of countries around the world.

More discord with American Jews

Furthermore, the discord between American Jews in particular and Israel will be far more intense. This will have major repercussions on Jewish unity as the ideological gap between the two sides will only deepen.

Diaspora Jewry near-unanimously supports a two-state solution, which they view as the ultimate outcome that provides Israel with security and preserves its Jewish majority and democratic nature.

To be sure, Israel will become a de facto apartheid state. That is the logical consequence of the country’s Basic Law now formally declaring Israel to be the nation-state of the Jewish people.

How else could anyone interpret the effort to continue to apply different laws to Israelis living within Israel and in the settlements, and using a different set of occupation laws that govern the Palestinians, which limits their political freedom and narrows their basic civil rights?

Unlike any previous right-wing Israeli government, the formation of a new government under Netanyahu may well be the most decisive and consequential for Israel as we know it.

A turning point in Israel’s history

This is nothing short of a turning point in Israel’s history. The Netanyahu coalition of reactionary, zealous, messianic and extreme right-wing leaders choose more territory over the future security and prosperity of Israel.

To them, forfeiting Israel’s democracy and shattering the centuries-old dream of the Jews to establish an independent, free, secure home and live in peace is nothing more than collateral damage.

It is a choice that has put Israel on the fast track toward the abyss.

Remark: This article was originally published by in April 12, 2019.

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