The prospect of toppling Netanyahu from power after 12 years sounds like good news for the Palestinians. But a glance at the results of the last Israeli election shows there is no possible Israeli government that would be good for the Palestinians.
There are only three small parties opposed to the occupation – the two parties supported mainly by Palestinian citizens of Israel with a combined total of ten seats and one mainly Jewish Israeli party, Meretz, which has only six seats.
The overwhelming majority of Members of the Knesset – 72 out of 120 – support either Netanyahu or parties that are even more opposed to any concessions to the Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s problem is that only 52 of the 72 will vote for him as Prime Minister. The remaining 20 belong to three small right-wing parties, New Hope, who think Netanyahu should resign because of the corruption charges he is fighting in the courts, the mainly Russian Yisrael Beitenu party that thinks Orthodox Israelis should be compelled to serve in the Army and the seven MKs in the party led by Naftali Bennett who think that Bennett should be Prime Minister.
What if Bennett becomes Prime Minister?
If Bennett does become prime minister, he will not willingly do anything to help the Palestinians. He is against a Palestinian state and in favour of annexing more than half the West Bank. And he once said: “I already killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there is absolutely no problem with that”, though he claims he meant it only in a military context.
Who will be Israel’s next Prime Minister?
But the coalition led by former television presenter Yair Lapid, who has agreed to take turns with Bennett as prime minister, would still need the support of most MKs from the parties mainly supported by Palestinians and the left-leaning Meretz and those parties are sure to put conditions on their support.
Bennett’s ambition might get the better of his ideology and he might agree to leave the Palestinian question alone while he is prime minister – or even to meet some of their practical demands for more effective policing in the Palestinian areas.
Make sure you join us for our meeting with Military Court Watch where we will be discussing human rights, accountability and the rule of law.