What to watch in the upcoming election in Israel
An Israeli election that will see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retain his job is being seen as a referendum on the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel, and whether the country can hold its ground after four years of peace negotiations.
The next prime minister of Israel will be elected on May 26, with the result of the vote expected to determine the future of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was elected in 2007.
Olmerts two terms in office have been marred by a string of deadly attacks, but his popularity has recovered and he has pledged to move ahead with negotiations with the Palestinians, something that will be a major focus of the upcoming elections.
The results of the May 26 elections are expected to be announced shortly by Israeli media, and if Netanyahu wins the election he will be able to push through a series of key measures aimed at advancing the peace deal, including his controversial new law which gives him the power to unilaterally change the status quo in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
However, the law will be seen by many Palestinians as a move to limit the ability of the Israeli government to use military force to achieve its aims.
With this in mind, the Israeli election campaign has focused on the future and the role of Netanyahu as prime minister.
This has led to a number of headlines across Israel and abroad, including: *Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu is on the run after he ran for office as a right-wing populist, and his campaign was hijacked by a pro-Palestinian faction that sought to portray him as a terrorist.
*”It’s a very different world now, and there’s no longer any sense of being neutral or a bystander in the Israeli political landscape.”
– Jonathan Katz, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Exeter, UK.
*Bibi Netanyahu’s re-election as Prime Minister was a shock to many Israelis, but it was seen as one of the most important developments in Israeli politics in years.
It was expected that Netanyahu would be re-elected in 2019 and then go into a second term in 2020, but this was marred last year by a series by Palestinian-led protests, which led to clashes with security forces and the resignation of the prime minister, who is considered a moderate and pro-peace.
Netanyahu has now moved on from this and is now campaigning to become Israel’s first democratically elected Prime Minister.
Read more about the Israeli elections.
Israel has become the most dangerous country in the Middle East, with attacks on Israelis at a record pace, with more than 300 Palestinians killed since the beginning of 2017.
“I don’t want to give Netanyahu a free pass to continue with his policies, and I think that he should know that.
If he continues to do so, I think it will be very hard for him to continue to govern Israel as he has in the past.”
– Meir Yifrah, head of the Palestinian National Committee.
*On Saturday, more than 50 Palestinians were killed in a series for stabbing and gun attacks in Israel, with most of the attackers being from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
The violence comes as Israel struggles with a devastating drought, with a record number of people in need of water being turned away.
On Sunday, the government announced it would ban the sale of some Israeli products, including olive oil and beer.
Read more on this story.
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