JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory in Israel’s election over his main challenger, former military chief of staff Benny Gantz, although it appears he may just be short of securing a parliamentary majority to form the next government.
Exit polls after Monday’s vote, the third in less than a year, suggested Netanyahu’s Likud party and its ultra-religious and nationalist allies had captured 59 of the 120 seats in the Knesset – pointing to yet another deadlock.
For Palestinians, however, the outcome of the election would make little difference.
“Israeli leaders are two sides of the same coin when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians,” Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, told Al Jazeera.
He said that, despite their differences, Israel’s political heavyweights all agree to keep “denying the Palestinians’ right to self-determination [and] right of return, keeping the illegal settlements and to never ending the occupation of Jerusalem.”
A combination picture shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel November 17, 2019, and leader of Blue and White party Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, Israel November 20, 2019
Seeking an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, Palestinian leaders have engaged in peace talks with Israel since the 1991 Madrid conference, which ushered in a peace process that eventually led to the 1993 signing of the first of the Oslo accords.
When the detailed accords, which saw Israel and the formally recognise one another, went into effect the next year, the goal was to install interim governance arrangements and a framework of negotiations for a final agreement within five years that would establish two states, side-by-side.
Some 30 years since the Madrid conference, and after the mandates of seven Israeli prime ministers from different parties, Palestinians have seen their long-sought state shrink year after year.
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