Israel’s steady move to the right means there is no hope of substantive peace talks in the future: paper

DUBAI: Israeli elections triggered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to seek “a clear mandate to lead Israel” will not change anything for Palestinians and he is very unlikely to succeed in this aim, given the chaotic mix of parties in Israel’s Knesset, a local newspaper commented on Thursday.

“However, he hopes to cause some problems for his departing coalition partners Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni and their centrist parties, which have been openly critical of the prime minister despite continuing to hold office under him,” said the English-language daily newspaper The Gulf News in an editorial.

After the new elections, the Dubai-based paper remarked, Netanyahu looks set to continue to head the largest party in the Knesset, but he will probably form a new coalition with a religious bloc representing the interests of ultra-orthodox Jews, having dumped his current secular allies.

“The religious parties would be more stable in Netanyahu’s search for a more Jewish state since the main reason for his dismissal of Livni and Lapid from his cabinet was their resistance to the proposed law that would define Israel specifically as a Jewish state.” Livni has said that the government did not know how to fight terrorism while also “upholding freedom and Zionism”, which, according to the paper, would enshrine Netanyahu’s racist ideology into basic law and allow future Israeli governments to discriminate and move against the growing number of Arab citizens of Israel.

“The steady drift to ever more right-wing parties in Israel means that there is very little hope for a genuine chance at peace. The supposed centrists may be secular, but they are just as nationalist as the religious parties. Even with new elections and a new coalition, the outlook is for more and more colonies to be built as Israel continues to annex the West Bank,” concluded the Gulf News.