Articles > > Predictions and Scenarios

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-09-26
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

Many predictions and scenarios have been posed regarding the new Israeli government's formation in light of 22nd Knesset elections' results.
They include a unity government headed by Benny Gantz, another headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, a third semi-right-wing government, a fourth center-right government with an Arab safety net, and so on and so forth, given the Israeli parties' state of fragmentation and the fact that none of the contending parties have an established majority in the Knesset.
We are not really concerned about what form of the new government will take, or who will lead it and of whom it will be comprised. We are concerned with monitoring what impact each of these potential scenarios, however unlikely, may have on the Palestinian cause and the means to a final resolution. In that regard, we are exclusively concerned with how these scenarios will affect the Palestinian national project, or what is left of it, as least.
After long reflection on the more influential party blocs and their rhetoric and programs, one can truly say that none of the many scenarios posed can lead to a breakthrough on the path to ending the occupation and enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their legitimate national rights. Last April's elections, which were repeated with almost identical results this month, demonstrate that Israel's political-party map is drifting towards the right at core. The right-wing accounts for 73 Knesset seats (out of 120), divided between three coalitions/parties: Kahol Lavan (33 seats), Likud (32 seats on the final count), and Yisrael Beiteinu (8 seats). There can be no government from outside this right-wing and far-right pool, whether a national-unity or a semi-right-wing government.
These parties agree on rejecting the 'two-state solution' and have pledged to prevent an independent, viable, and geographically connected Palestinian state from coming into being. Their collective perception of any new Palestinian state is that of lower standing than an actual state, but slightly higher than a self-administrated territory. These parties also deny the refugees' right of return and to compensation, and all three believe that Jerusalem is Israel's eternal, united capital. As for the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea, their views range from immediate annexation to Israeli sovereignty, or retaining Israeli control for a century to come. [Kahol Lavan leader] Gantz even accused Netanyahu of stealing his slogan when the latter pledged to annex the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea to Israel. The three parties believe in annexing the settlements to Israel as well, and do not want to see the Palestinians control their own borders, international crossings, airspace, and waters.
All three view Gaza Strip as a source of threat, and dream of waking up one morning to find it had been swallowed up by the sea. If Gantz believes in using brute force to impose new equations on the conflict and restoring Israel's image as a deterrent power as a military man drenched in Palestinian blood from head to toe, Netanyahu prefers to combine brute force with soft tools, albeit in varying and variable amounts, on the grounds that it is in Israel's interests in the medium and long-term for Gaza to remain under Hamas's control and even to prevent the collapse of its de facto authority in Gaza.
This would help perpetuate the [Fatah/Hamas] split and thwart demands for an independent Palestinian state, making a mockery of the term 'Palestinian partner [for peace]'. The three parties have long buried Rabin's legacy and gratefully grabbed at Trump's gift to Netanyahu: Recognizing Israel's annexation of the occupied Golan Heights.
The greatest common denominator between the three parties is their racism against Arab Palestinians within the Green Line [Israel's Palestinian citizens], although their manner of expression differs. Netanyahu has waged the most heinous discrimination and demonization campaigns against the [Israeli] Arabs and Lieberman considers them enemies of Israel and refuses to be in their presence, while Gantz apologizes to the Israelis for the Arab MKs nominating him to President Reuven Rivlin to form a new government, and pledges not to form a government that relies on an Arab safety net in any way.
The intense mobilizing in Israel to form a new government, irrespective of its outcomes and means, does not alter the Palestinians' reality. It would be a mistake to bet on the slight differences in tone and rhetoric between these groups, or to raise the ceiling of expectations for each scenario. These blocs do differ on domestic policy that primarily involves and concerns the Jewish Israelis, but at most they would marginally affect the Palestinians within the Green Line.
Other than that, there seems to be nothing worth betting on.