AMMAN: Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in Israeli elections have caused irreparable damage to a two-state solution, analysts have told Arab News.
Saeb Erekat, secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, said the election results reflected the hawkish behavior of Israelis who were not interested in peace.
“It’s obvious that the Israeli voting behavior is for the continuation of the status quo and the occupation,” he told Arab News.
Palestinians were angry after Netanyahu pledged on the campaign trail to annex illegal settlements in the West Bank.
The Palestinians and many countries deem settlements to be illegal under the Geneva conventions that bar settling on land captured in war.
Israel disputes this, citing security needs and biblical, historical and political connections to the land.
Palestinian activists believe Netanyahu has been emboldened by support from US President Donald Trump, who said the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Annexing settlements would all but end any final chances for a two-state solution with the Palestinians and potentially push the sides toward a single, binational state.
Anees Sweidan, head of the PLO’s International Affairs Department, said the election results were unsurprising and that the “radicalization” of Israel would not have happened without public support from the US.
“This is why we have to expect more radical American and Israeli decisions which will move our entire region toward the abyss,” he told Arab News.
Trump caused international outrage when he said the US would recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their own future state.
The US leader was slammed by Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee.
She said Netanyahu had been “emboldened by the Trump administration’s reckless policies and blind support.”
Hanna Issa, from the Christian-Muslim Council for Jerusalem, said that Netanyahu had succeeded in getting a record number of seats in the Israeli Knesset since 1948 without having a political or social or security program.
“He did what Palestinians didn’t expect, namely get support from the world’s superpowers,” Issa told Arab News.
Two Arab parties ran in the election: Hadash-Ta’al and the United Arab List-Balad. In the previous poll, they ran together as the Joint List. The split in the Joint List led to the establishment of the two parties — and calls for a boycott.
The Jerusalem Post reported that by 3 p.m. on voting day just 20 percent of Arab voters had cast their ballots, prompting candidates and Arab-Israeli leaders to urge people to take part in the electoral process.
Botrus Mansour, a lawyer from Nazareth, said there were many reasons for the low Arab turnout.
“In addition to anger at the current nominees who couldn’t keep a Joint List intact, there has been a general feeling that Arab Knesset members are not given a chance to have an effect,” he told Arab News.
Mansour, who heads the Baptist School in Nazareth, also said many intellectuals felt there was no need to legitimize Israel.
“Most of the intellectuals were disappointed with the general shift to the right in Israel and decided to stay away.”
Naser Laham, editor-in-chief of Maan News and an analyst, said the election result would have an impact on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
It would push him to one of two options, he said. “More waiting for a miracle to happen, or adopting the strategy of the Joint Arab List inside the Green Line (that separates Israel from the West Bank) which focuses on Palestinians calling for equality in political rights throughout the area between the river and the sea,” he told Arab News.
Israel: Palestinian killed, 2 Israelis hurt in car ramming
BEIRUT: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday praised the commitment of the Lebanese government to protecting its country in the face of the threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah.It came during his meeting in Washington with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. David Schenker, the assistant secretary of near eastern affairs, and David Hill,…
BEIRUT: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday praised the commitment of the Lebanese government to protecting its country in the face of the threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah.It came during his meeting in Washington with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. David Schenker, the assistant secretary of near eastern affairs, and David Hill, undersecretary of state for political affairs, were also present.Pompeo also reassured Hariri of “the commitment of the United States to support Lebanon and its institutions, to preserve its security and stability, and to procure the needs of the Lebanese people.”He also praised “Lebanon’s commitment to providing support to more than one million Syrian refugees residing on its soil, who have fled the injustice of the Assad regime.”“We call for continuing the discussions related to the remaining points related to the Blue Line (the UN’s border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel) and the Lebanese maritime borders (with Israel). We are ready to mediate the maritime dispute between Lebanon and Israel and hope to reach concrete results,” Pompeo added.After the meeting, Hariri said he hoped to “reach a conclusive decision in the upcoming months regarding the border demarcation negotiations.” He thanked the US for its “continuous support for the Lebanese Army,” and restated Lebanon’s commitment to fighting terrorism.He also noted Lebanon’s “continuous support for the Cedar Conference (of international investors) and its investment plan, which is highly necessary to the Lebanese economy.” During a Cedar conference in Paris in April 2018, Lebanon secured pledges of $10.2 billion in loans and $860 million in grants, which are dependent on economic reforms.Earlier, Hariri spent more than an hour with David Malpas, president of the World Bank, during which he assured the financier: “Lebanon’s relationship with the World Bank is very important and we continue to cooperate in various sectors, especially electricity, telecommunications and waste management.”The prime minister said that he also explained to Malbas “the challenges that we face in Lebanon on the economic and political levels.”Regarding the IMF’s reluctance to cooperate with Lebanon, Hariri said: “The IMF focuses mainly on the financial situation, while the World Bank is our partner and we are executing many projects with them.”Asked whether or not his meetings in Washington made him optimistic that Lebanon’s credit rating will improve, Hariri said: “I know that Lebanon’s financial figures are critical and we have a great challenge with (credit rating agency) Standard & Poor’s, and we are working on improving our rating. However, this does not mean that our situation is not good; on the contrary, we are taking all necessary steps that would lead us to safety. The most important thing is not to respond to bad news by not performing our duties, and to reach safety.”Lebanese authorities are awaiting the latest Standard & Poor’s report, which is due to be released on Aug. 23. They fear the nation’s credit rating will be downgraded to CCC, which would have negative repercussions on its economy, the banking sector and on the value of the Lebanese pound, especially given the strained political situation in the country at a time when it needs to begin implementing reforms required by Cedar investors.Hariri was concluding a visit to Washington that comes less than a week after the Lebanese government reconvened following 40 days of inactivity in the wake of an incident in Mount Lebanon on June 30, during which two bodyguards working for Minister for Refugee Affairs Saleh Al-Gharib were shot and killed. This led to a political standoff between Druze leaders Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party, and Talal Arslan, leader of the Democratic Party and an ally of Al-Gharib, who each blamed the other’s supporters for the violence. A reconciliation agreement was reached on Aug. 9.During his visit, Hariri also met Undersecretary of Defense John Rudd. They discussed “ways to support the Lebanese army and the security forces,” according to the prime minister’s office. He also met with Treasury officials, including Marshall Billingslea, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing, in light of the announcement by the US of fresh sanctions on Hezbollah officials. On July 9, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on Hezbollah MPs Amin Sherri and Mohammad Raad, and on Wafiq Safa, Hezbollah’s security chief.The US accuses Hezbollah of “using its members in the Lebanese Parliament to manipulate institutions to support the financial and security interests of the terrorist group and to promote malicious activities of Iran.” It also accuses Hezbollah of “threatening economic stability and security in Lebanon and the region as a whole, at the expense of the Lebanese people.”
Pompeo praises Lebanese government for standing firm against Iranian threat
Saudi-UAE committee in Aden ‘to oversee separatists withdrawal’
JEDDAH: A Saudi-UAE committee arrived in Aden Thursday to oversee the withdrawal of southern separatist troops from positions they seized last week from the government. The delegation arrived in the temporary Yemeni capital to ensure troops loyal to the Southern Transitional Council leave government institutions, Al Arabiya reported, citing a Yemeni government source. Yemeni presidential…
JEDDAH: A Saudi-UAE committee arrived in Aden Thursday to oversee the withdrawal of southern separatist troops from positions they seized last week from the government.
The delegation arrived in the temporary Yemeni capital to ensure troops loyal to the Southern Transitional Council leave government institutions, Al Arabiya reported, citing a Yemeni government source.
Yemeni presidential guard forces took over Al-Maasheeq palace after the STC withdrew following calls from the Arab Coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the source said.
The government has ruled out talks with the STC until it hands over to the presidential guard all the positions it captured.
The separatists and the government, who are meant to be on the same side in the fight against the Houthis, clashed for several days after tensions overspilled at a commander’s funeral.
The separatists seized the palace on Saturday and at least 40 people, including civilians, were killed in the fighting.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Monday urged forces in the city to observe a ceasefire.
The call followed talks in Mina between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Also Thursday, thousands of Yemenis rallied in Aden in support of the separatists.
South Yemen was an independent country until it merged with the north in 1990.