On 3 November 2022, the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies held a discussion on "The Israeli Elections: Domestic Instability, the Palestinian Issue, and Regional Agendas". The discussion was delivered by Dr. Ibrahim Khatib, Assistant Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and was moderated by Ms. Salma Aljamal, News Anchor at Aljazeera TV channel and MA Student in Conflict Management and Humanitarian Action.
This discussion came in light of the Israeli legislative elections on 1 November 2022. The election resulted in the victory of the political bloc led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Winning 64 out of 120 seats in the Knesset guarantees Netanyahu the majority needed to form a right-wing coalition government.
Dr. Khatib highlighted the comfortable position Netanyahu is in, which would allow him to establish a stable and homogeneous coalition government. He stated that Netanyahu would be able to overcome the challenges that would result from the presence of the extreme right in the government due to his previous experience as the leader of a government in which the far-right was also present. Also, Dr. Khatib added that it is not currently possible to predict whether or not this coming government would be able to serve its full term given the period of instability during the past three years. Moreover, Dr. Khatib believes that the incoming government's main agenda will center around the economic situation in Israel, Israeli national security, and the issue of Israel's Jewish identity.
The Situation of Palestinians within the Green Line
The discussion also touched on the repercussions of the election on the Palestinian case as well as the situation of Palestinians within the Green Line. Dr. Khatib stated that there are three main approaches for the Netanyahu government. The first approach will revolve around strengthening the presence of the Israeli army in the West Bank to undermine the Palestinians. The second approach will focus on the issue of Jerusalem. On this issue, Dr. Khatib highlighted the position of the extreme right, which will constitute a notable proportion of the new Netanyahu government and its support for attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the right of Jews to pray there. The third approach will focus on the issue of Gaza. Dr. Khatib believes that with the exception of minor adjustments, Netanyahu will continue the policy of the previous government on the Gaza Strip, which dealt with the Palestinian resistance with violence and facilitated a relatively easier economic access that it believed bettered the security situation. He believes that Netanyahu would decrease the economic facilitation but increase the violent military responses along with the bartering policy between Israel and the resistance factions in Gaza Strip.
Additionally, Dr. Khatib believes that Netanyahu and his government will continue their right-wing policies towards Palestinians within the Green Line with the possibility of dealing with some issues, such as violence, but in a way that favors Israel and Israel's society.
Concerning the issue of gaining five seats for each of the United Arab List and Hadash List, Dr. Khatib stressed the Arab parties need to adopt a different approach that is based on a collective, national, and systematic political direction for Palestinians within the Green Line, building national institutions, and, working according to a united vision.
Israel's Foreign Policy
Furthermore, Dr. Khatib commented on the regional and international agendas of the next government. He stated that Israeli foreign policies are not linked to the heads of the government but rather to the general Israeli direction, the Israeli army, and Israel's image before the international and regional community. Dr. Khatib believes that Netanyahu will try to enhance Israel's image and continue concluding peace agreements with Arab countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dr. Khatib also added that he believes Netanyahu will take into consideration the international pressure about the Ukrainian war and Israeli interest when working with Russia to preserve Israel's ability to conduct airstrikes in Syria.
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