Bibi wins the Israeli elections. I guessed he would. To me, the tight opinion polls, that were even giving a substantial advantage to the Zionist Camp, could not take into account a last minute, knee-jerk return to the Likud out of fear about: security, the ‘scary’ Palestinians, the rise of the Joint List, the uncertainty of a possible end to the current ‘comfortable’ status quo and more. Gideon Levy said the same thing today at 5:30 am on BBC World Service.
Anshel Pfeffer says ‘get used to the idea of Herzog as foreign minister’, but for Bibi to go for a unity government would surely require him to undergo a political conversion of staggering proportions. Has he really come this far in politics to now go against everything he has done to solidify Greater Israel? Is he not seeing this win as the last opportunity he has to make control over the West Bank permanent? Why would he saddle himself with a serious handicap by yoking himself to the Zionist Camp? He will be telling himself that all his tactics finally came good: sticking it to Obama, warning the world of the imminence of Iran dropping nuclear bombs on Israel, ruling out a Palestinian state, promising more Israeli settlements, demonising Palestinian Israelis as a fifth column, playing to the electorate’s worst, racist prejudices.
With Obama on his way out, the EU preoccupied with internal matters, Putin keeping ‘the West’ busy with his aggressive pursuit of a Russia first foreign policy, Isis taxing both the foreign and domestic security policies of so many diverse states, who will be able to stop Bibi continuing to consolidate and strengthen the de facto single state?
Whether we should be thankful for it or not, one thing we certainly get from this election result is clarity: the Palestinians will know what to expect, European Jews will know what to expect, the Obama administration will know what to expect, the entire population of Israel will know what to expect. Yet the consequences of the stasis this implies are far more unpredictable. Change was expected. Now there’ll be none, it’s as if a vacuum has suddenly appeared in the centre of the polity. And as the old cliche goes, ‘nature abhors . . .’ Filling it could be a third intifada, as Palestinian anger understandably erupts. It could be another major Israeli military assault, with huge casualties and the inevitable fallout in anti-Jewish hostility for Europe’s Jews. It could be a pre-emptive strike of some kind on Iran. It could be formal annexation of Area C of the West Bank. And it could be a major growth in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement: more action and a widening of the basis of support for the campaign.
Equal rights for all seems to be further away than ever. But without a viable statist solution of any kind, the equal rights agenda as the basis for achieving real change gains added importance and legitimacy.