WITH Benjamin Netanyahu all but assured of victory in Israel’s recently held elections, the future of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the two-state solution looks doomed.
Netanyahu appears set to head a right-wing coalition — having courted some of the most fanatical Jewish outfits during the course of the campaign — and become prime minister of Israel for a record fifth time.
However, it would be naive to expect him to adopt a more measured posture and conciliatory tone towards the Palestinians.
As the polls neared, he had made it clear he would annex Israeli settlements on Arab land — settlements considered illegal by the international community.
To paraphrase the words of senior Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi, Netanyahu wants to build Greater Israel on the ashes of Palestine.
And perhaps what is most unfortunate is that he has the support of the Trump administration to accomplish this odious task, while the Arab and Muslim worlds remain deep in slumber.
Perhaps the Netanyahu victory can be explained in the context of the global rightist surge, with far-right parties across the world either taking power, or becoming kingmakers in respective national politics.
In the meantime, progressive political elements the world over are withering in the face of the rightist march. Some of Netanyahu’s election allies are downright fascist, calling for the “transfer” of the Palestinians from their native land.
This, and the prime minister-elect’s grim track record where respecting Arab rights is concerned, does not bode well for the peace process.
Perhaps the only hope for the Palestinians to secure justice is for the international community to make it clear to the Israeli leadership that it will not condone Tel Aviv’s brutal treatment of the Arabs.
However, this is easier said than done, with the international community in disarray, and the US protecting Israel from all criticism.
The Palestinians have been in purgatory for over seven decades; chances are slim that they will get the respect and justice they deserve any time soon, especially after the latest Israeli elections.