Palestinian hopes don’t lie in Israel’s election, but in America 2020

Palestine Update 286

Palestinian hopes don’t lie in Israel’s election, but in America 2020

On 4 September Amnesty International issued a 22 page report detailing the diminishment of Arab voices in the Knesset, with Palestinians being targeted by discriminatory measures.
In 2016 for example, a legislative amendment made it possible for Members of the Knesset (MK) to expel other elected members by a majority vote. That made any MK expressing a peaceful opinion not accepted by the majority very vulnerable. One Palestinian MK described it as a “sword dangled over our heads by members of the Knesset who oppose us politically”. Such curtailment of these representatives’ freedom of expression impacts their ability to defend Palestinian rights in Israel. This adds to the already systematic disenfranchisement of Palestinians living in Israel, and why many of them choose to boycott the elections.While Palestinians may therefore hold little hope for outcomes in the Knesset, the US is where a real impact could originate. Which is why it’s the US elections next year in 2020 that will really matter. In a crowded field of Democratic candidates, the question of which holds the brightest future for Palestinians is a pertinent one. Most Democratic candidates will try to walk a middle line, balancing the challenge of distancing themselves from right-wing Netanyahu in order to appeal to pro-Palestinian elements, without wanting to alienate the pro-Israel camp.
Read commentary in Al Araby

Netanyahu lost Israeli vote, but Palestinians were bound to lose whoever won
by George Galloway
Whatever the outcome of the Israeli elections, the Palestinians will be the big losers. Netanyahu has lost his majority of course – having failing to reach the magic number of 61 seats in the Knesset. But the Palestinians living under siege in Gaza, under occupation in the West Bank, or under annexation in East Jerusalem, an annexation Netanyahu threatened to visit upon the whole of the Jordan Valley – are no better off. Neither, for that matter, are the so-called “Arab-Israelis” who increasingly identify as Palestinian citizens of Israel and whose treatment as the ‘enemy within’ reached its apogee in Likud hate-speech about them. This saw them briefly banned from Facebook last week.

The most obvious kingmaker in the negotiations is Netanyahu’s former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman. He is a dangerous, even rabid, and extremist. Lieberman claimed that he was held back by the “moderate” Netanyahu from incinerating the whole of Gaza which he clearly – and not just privately – wishes to wipe off the map. Mind you, so does the likely king, the main opposition leader Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White Party seem to have gained seats. He, too, is avowedly secular so the basis of a deal with Lieberman is obvious.
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Israeli elections deadlocked but shows power of the Arab Bloc

Analyze Israeli political paralysis, the power of the right, and what having the Arab coalition be the largest opposition party might mean
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Europe lacks backbone to challenge Israeli annexation (Excerpts)
Chris Doyle writing in Arab News
Annexation is the final step in the Israeli strategy. The EU must therefore deploy all the levers it can to deter this. Back in 2014, Russia occupied Crimea and held a rigged referendum en route to annexing this piece of occupied territory. The EU reaction was swift. Within weeks, it had imposed a raft of sanctions on Russia and key Russian officials.

Could this happen in the case of Israel? In theory, yes. If the EU is prepared to take on a superpower like Russia, why not Israel too? It does not even have to go as far as sanctions. It would have the grounds to suspend or annul the EU-Israel Association Agreement and remove all preferential trade access to the massive EU market for Israeli products and services. It could impose sanctions on Israeli individuals who have sponsored the illegal settlement enterprise.

In practice, the EU is far too divided and lacks the political courage. Major powers, including Britain, view any such annexation as a disaster for any conceivable two-state solution and also for the chances of upholding the rules-based international order. However, the Visegrad countries, especially Hungary and the Czech Republic, would be unlikely to consent and it would require unanimous agreement.

The remaining scenario is some form of concerted action by major EU powers. This is perhaps why it was France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK that last week issued a joint statement bleating about deep concern, rather than the full EU. A bit of backbone will have to emerge to replace the European leadership vacuum — a scenario Netanyahu will correctly judge to be a distant prospect.
Read full article in Eurasia Review