What Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory means for Palestinians

Arturo Kim
April 11, 2019

Likud's main rival in the election, the Blue and White party led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, won 25.94% of the vote, which would also give it 35 seats, but had insufficient support from other parties to prevent Netanyahu staying in power for what will be a fifth term...Original Source...

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and challenger Benny Gantz have both claimed victory in the election after exit polls predicted a parliamentary majority for rightist parties under the incumbent but a big showing for Gantz's party.

By Wednesday morning, 97 percent of the votes were counted and showed the Likud party tied with Blue and White.

With a victory, Mr Netanyahu would capture a fourth consecutive term and fifth overall, which this summer would make him Israel's longest-ever serving leader.

"I'm very confident that what was tried before failed", he said Tuesday in congressional testimony. The former military chief Mr Gantz ran, essentially, as the man who was not Mr Netanyahu but could match him for "toughness" on security.

On Wednesday, Gantz wrote this message to his supporters, according to The Associated Press: "Though the skies appear gloomy, nothing is final". After it emerged that Iran had allegedly hacked Gantz's phone, Netanyahu questioned whether he could be trusted to keep the country safe if he couldn't look after his phone.

"This is a night of tremendous victory", Netanyahu said after entering a campaign celebration around 2 a.m.

No one party has ever won a ruling majority in the 120-seat Knesset, and building a parliamentary coalition - which could take weeks - will ultimately determine the victor.

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Netanyahu has an advantage as almost all right-wing parties have declared their support to the Israeli leader, Israeli media reported.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that election results handing a narrow victory to right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give a "better chance" to a yet to be unveiled USA peace plan. "I will begin the task of forming a right-wing government with our natural partners tonight".

Confetti falls as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara stand on stage after Netanyahu spoke following the announcement of exit polls in Israel's parliamentary election at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel April 10, 2019. For one thing, Netanyahu is immersed in a criminal investigation after Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced plans to indict the prime minister on charges of breach of trust, bribery and fraud.

The prime minister recently agreed to bring two fringe right-wing parties, the anti-Arab Otzma Yehudit party and the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, into his governing coalition.

Extending Israeli sovereignty on a large-scale in the West Bank could be the death knell to already fading hopes for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

How do Israeli elections work?

Who is right? Who will be the next prime minister?

At the sessions - which will be broadcast live - Mr Rivlin will pick a party leader to try to form a coalition, giving the candidate 28 days to do so, with a two-week extension if needed. "They asked for a different path, and we showed them the way". The Arab Hadash-Ta'al and Labor get six each. If it's even closer, we won't know for several days. Legal experts expect at least some charges to be filed. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and says the accusations are part of a liberal media's orchestrated witch hunt.

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