Palestinians: Israeli election result show victory for ‘annexation’

RAMALLAH: A top aide to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday decried the projected success of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Monday’s parliamentary election, charging that annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank had won.
“Settlement, annexation, and apartheid have won,” Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in a statement.
“Netanyahu decided that the continuation of the occupation and the conflict is what brings Israel progress and prosperity, so he chose to consolidate the foundations and pillars of the conflict and the cycle of violence, extremism, chaos and bloodshed,” he said. “The next step is annexation. The wrong side of history’’.
Palestinians see the territory as a vital part of their planned future state and have said such annexation would mean an end to the notion of peace on the basis of the two-state solution.
Netanyahu emerged victorious on Tuesday after Israel’s third election in a year despite a looming corruption trial, dismaying the Palestinians who were angered by his hardline campaign pledges.
The election left the veteran right-winger in prime position to form a government and end a year of political deadlock, after similar votes in April and September proved inconclusive.
The central election committee said it had counted 90 per cent of the vote, with breakdowns of the result in the media showing Netanyahu’s Likud party with 36 seats in Israel’s 120-member parliament.
That would mark the party’s best-ever result under Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and its first to be indicted in office.
Netanyahu’s bloc, which includes ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, is likely still one or two votes short of a majority, but his party spokesman said it was confident of luring defectors.
Likud’s main challenger, the centrist Blue and White party, was projected to win 32 seats.
Counting its centre-left allies as well as the mainly Arab Joint List alliance, the anti-Netanyahu camp was expected to control 54 to 55 seats. While there remains no guarantee that Netanyahu can form a coalition, he hailed the election as a “giant” success.
“This is the most important victory of my life,” he told supporters in Tel Aviv. — AFP