The building of a narrow right coalition is in progress. Israeli Prime Minister-designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, will utilize his negotiating skills which will bring in every right wing politician possible, including the rabid racists of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahana breed, into his coalition. At the same time he will try to send out tantalizing bait to the Kadima and Labour Parties to temper the extreme right-wing image of his coalition. It remains to be seen if he will succeed in the end, if not at present.
The peace process, which has come to a halt, will not be revived under the right-wing government which is not conducive to any form of agreement with the Palestinians. The occupation will continue as well as settlement expansion. Netanyahu’s election campaign has made no bones about this.
Everything will be done to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside
If there is no movement towards establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside
The repercussions of the end of two-state idea for two peoples will be disastrous. Netanyahu talks about improving the economic situation of the Palestinians and some autonomy for them which amounts to limited self-rule. This can be compared to the Bantustan policies of apartheid
Apart from that, it gives the Likud led coalition leeway to continuing settlement expansion and prolonging the occupation. This can be seen by all as a big bluff.
Lately there have been reports of quarrying in the
Another cause of concern is the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman, the right wing racist, as Foreign Minister. It remains to be seen how he will represent
While the US, Canada and Italy will not be attending the conference because of its anti-Israel bias, Lieberman's appointment as foreign minister will not serve
There is no reason for optimism for the future of any renewal of the peace process.
Another problem that needs to be tackled is the release of Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier imprisoned under Hamas. Outgoing Israeli PM Olmert never succeeded in negotiating his release because of the price tag of releasing Palestinian prisoners, many of whom, with blood on their hands. For the unfortunate parents, no price is too high and understandably so. If the life of Gilad Shalit can be saved and he can return home then this must take top priority more than any other consideration. It is doubtful if Netanyahu has what it takes to secure his release.