No matter who wins the Israeli elections, the Palestinians will be the losers.
At the time of writing, both Tzipi Livni of Kadima and Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud, are claiming victory. While Livni’s Kadima has more seats than Netanyahu’s Likud, Livni will unlikely be able to convince third place getter, the ultra right-wing Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu, to join her in forming a coalition government. This means that Netanyahu will likely form an alliance with Lieberman to become the next Prime Minister. But before that happens, the Israeli system offers the leader of the party that has won the most seats the first opportunity to form a government regardless of how unlikely it is to happen.
This, in turn, means that it may be some time before any government is formed as a result of the elections and it also means that Olmert will continue as caretaker Prime Minister until such time as Lieberman decides who he is going to support. Then a new government will be formed.
What Israel will end up with is more of the same regardless of who forms a government. The Zionists will still dominate. The only difference will be Livni will pretend to talk about peace with the Palestinians while Netanyahu won’t. Nonetheless, Israel, the Palestinians and the world may have to wait weeks before we know who will be the winner and the next Prime Minister.
And, of course, whoever it is, the losers will be the Palestinian people. However, if the right-wing blocs of Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties get together in a coalition, it won’t only be the Palestinians that lose but the Middle East and the entire world.
Unfortunately, in all probability it will be the extreme right-wing bloc that is likely in the end to prevail and – unless Lieberman and Netanyahu have a serious falling out – Netanyahu will be the next Israeli Prime Minister.
Both Lieberman and Netanyahu are intent on destroying both Hamas and Hezbollah and on regime change in Iran. Neither is wont to talk to Syria at all and Netanyahu last week quietly threatened that, if he became Prime Minister, he would not hesitate to wipe out the Hamas leadership in both the Gaza and Syria.
No matter who becomes Israel’s next Prime Minister, the Palestinian people will remain the losers and doomed to continue their suffering.