At 10 p.m. local time on April 9, the vote for the 21st Israeli parliamentary elections ended. Export polls released by Israeli media that night showed that no political party won more than half of the seats in the Israeli parliamentary elections held on that day, while the Blue and White Party and Likud Group gained nearly the same number of seats.
Export polls conducted by the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation show that the Blue and White Party has 37 seats and the Likud Group has 36 seats. Export polls published by other media also show that the two parties have the same or similar seats.
After the polls were released, Benny Gantz, leader of the left-wing coalition Blue and White Party, announced his victory through Twitter and thanked voters for their support. Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister, also announced through Twitter that the Likud-led right-wing camp had won a clear victory. Netanyahu said he would work with other right-wing parties to form a new right-wing government.
It is uncertain who will become the largest party in the current Israeli Parliament and form a cabinet before the official results of the Central Electoral Commission of Israel are announced. Why did both Ganz and Netanyahu declare victory? What impact will the new elections have on the situation between Palestine and Israel?
Elections without Winners
According to the BBC, Netanyahu is also celebrating the victory at the Tel Aviv campaign headquarters of the right-wing Likud Group. It was a night of great victory. Netanyahu said he was moved by the fifth choice of the Israeli people to trust him.
In the history of Israel, no political party has ever won more than half of the 120 seats in the Knesset, so Israel has always been a multi-party coalition cabinet.
This means that it is not necessarily the leader of a political party who has obtained a majority vote in the election who will become prime minister. The new government needs to maintain at least half of the seats in 120-seat Parliament and form a successful cabinet with other political parties so that the leader of the political party can become prime minister.
Take the Blue and White Party as an example. According to the current export polls, the Blue and White Party must unite with other political parties and obtain at least 24 seats to form a successful cabinet. If its cabinet fails, the president will authorize other party leaders to try again to form a new government.
After the first export poll, the Blue and White Party boiled. Ganzs supporters say Israel is at the dawn of a new government. However, according to recent polls, the results of the first export poll are not accurate.
Some analysts believe that Netanyahu is more likely to form a successful cabinet than Ganz, given the close relationship with other right-wing parties and religious parties. According to the current situation, the two parties are likely to have very similar votes, which means that the leaders of the two major political parties may be authorized by the President to form a new government.
Netanyahu, or Israels longest-serving prime minister?
If Netanyahu, 69, is re-elected, he will surpass David Ben Gurion, Israels first prime minister since the founding of the Peoples Republic of Israel, who has been in power for 15 years, and become Israels longest-serving prime minister.
In the election campaign, Netanyahu focused mainly on the issue of homeland security. A few days before the election, he made an important speech, implying that if the election was successful, the new government would be built in the West Bank, an Israeli stronghold. This move may affect the achievement of a peace agenda between Israel and Palestine.
Another thorny problem facing Netanyahu is the corruption scandal. Recently, Israels Attorney General Mandelbrit charged Netanyahu with four counts of corruption. If Netanyahu is re-elected, the outside world will focus on his legal dilemma. According to the Associated Press, Israels Justice Minister has proposed a series of criminal charges against Netanyahu after the summer hearing.
Netanyahu denied the scandals. It is believed that Netanyahu will gain support from other coalition parties and even find ways to avoid prosecution if facing charges.
Ganz has set himself up as a candidate for zero scandal. Ganz, 59, the former chief of staff of Israels Defense Forces, and former Finance Minister Rapid merged their leading political parties into new political factions and challenged Netanyahu by naming them the Blue and White Party in the color of the Israeli flag. Once elected, they will take turns as prime ministers for two years.
Before the announcement of the dissolution of Parliament in December last year and the early holding of elections, the support rate of the Likud Group led by the current Prime Minister Netanyahu has been far ahead. Ganz aimed at Netanyahus scandal stain and put forward a promise of building a more honest politics in his campaign platform.
On Israels security issues, Ganz, a former soldier, has shown a strong position not to lose to Netanyahu. The Blue and White Party supports the two-state plan for the separation of Israel and Palestine, but it does not mean that Palestine has complete sovereignty and borders. It also emphasizes that Israel will control the Israel-Palestine security border and the Jordan Valley.
The electoral situation is sticking. What are the prospects for the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks?
The background of this election coincides with the escalation of the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Beginning at the end of March this year, Palestinians began to hold a return parade in the border area of the Gaza Strip, which led to continuing conflict between the two sides in the border area between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Palestinian militants fired rockets and artillery shells into southern Israel, while Israel bombed the Gaza Strip and intensified the blockade. The situation in the region continued to be tense.
On March 25, a house near Tel Aviv in central Israel was hit by rockets from the Gaza Strip, injuring at least seven people. While Netanyahu was planning to visit the United States, Netanyahu shortened his original visit to the United States and returned to Israel on the morning of 26.
In Washington, Trump ignored the broad consensus reached by the international community and signed a declaration with Netanyahu formally recognizing Israels sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which aroused strong opposition from Syria, Russia, the League of Arab States and other countries and organizations. According to CNN reports, Trump plans to announce a draft century agreement for peace in the Middle East after parliamentary elections, but his initiative to split East Jerusalem has been publicly rejected by Netanyahu and others. After the United States merged the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem into the new embassy, the Palestinian side has explicitly rejected any proposal put forward by the U.S.side.
As the elections come to an end, most polls show Ganz ahead of his rivals, but Netanyahus cabinet is more likely to succeed.
Even so, the peace process between Palestine and Israel has not been at the heart of the campaign. According to the BBC, the Israeli people generally believe that there is little hope for a long-term peace between Israel and Palestine. Whether Netanyahu is re-elected or Ganz wins, the situation between Palestine and Israel will remain in a fog for a long time.