Ahead of elections, Israeli PM accused of ‘stoking racism’ and ‘killing all hopes of a two-state solution’

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if he is re-elected next week. He has also faced accusations of “stoking racism against Arabs” ahead of the election.

‘Killing all hopes of a two-state solution’

Netanyahu’s behaviour has sparked criticism around the world, with many highlighting that it “would violate international law” and effectively ‘end hopes of a two-state solution’ in Israel and occupied Palestine:

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Campaign group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), meanwhile, highlighted how Netanyahu’s move comes as no surprise – especially considering that he has the support of US president Donald Trump:

“Stoking racism”

Netanyahu has also begun to target Arab people inside and outside Israel as part of his re-election campaign:

This tactic is in keeping with his previous campaigns:

“Hold Israel to account”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) condemned Netanyahu’s annexation plans, saying:

The move to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank seeks to entrench the de facto sovereignty Israel is exercising over the 2.8 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank under Israeli military control which denies them basic human rights. None of these Palestinians have voting rights in the Israeli elections; nor do the millions of Palestinians refugees who have been forcibly expelled from their homes since 1948.

It continued by stressing that:

This proposed move follows a series of acts by the Netanyahu government that has attacked the collective rights of the Palestinian people; whether those living under military occupation or as citizens of the state of Israel.

Earlier this year, when Netanyahu ran for re-election and subsequently failed to form a government in the Knesset, he publicly reasserted his belief that that Israel “is not a state of all its citizens.” Whilst Palestinian citizens of Israel are allowed to vote in the upcoming elections, the “Nation State Law” passed in 2018 in Israel enshrines discrimination against them into the constitution. Since 1948, Israel has passed over 60 laws which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in housing, welfare provision, education, public works and building permission.

It also insisted:

the global community has an obligation to hold Israel to account for these crimes.

“He is confident that it will win him votes”

PSC director Ben Jamal asserted:

This pledge is not only a stark reminder of the Israeli government’s staunch commitment to stripping Palestinians of their rights and their homeland, but it also highlights that the fundamental issues with the Israeli state run far deeper than one politician or government. Netanyahu is making this pledge because he is confident that it will win him votes at next week’s elections. There is no meaningful pressure for change coming from within Israel, and so pressure needs to be exerted externally.

He further argued that:

It is incumbent upon the UK government, which continues to repeat the mantra of its support for a two-state solution, to accept the reality that these steps remove the possibility of a Palestinian state. Actions not words are required – PSC reaffirms its call for an immediate ban on the import of settlement goods and an end to the arms trade with Israel, and calls upon UK civil society to continue applying pressure on all companies complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses.

“Maximum coordination with Trump”

Arab League foreign ministers, meanwhile, called Netanyahu’s annexation plan “a dangerous development and a new Israeli aggression by declaring the intention to violate the international law”. It said his behaviour was “undermining the chances of any progress in the peace process and will torpedo all its foundations”. Saudi Arabia, which has grown closer and closer to Israel in recent years, said Netanyahu’s vow a “very dangerous escalation”.

As the Guardian reported:

Ayman Odeh, the leader of an alliance of Arab parties in Israel, called Netanyahu’s statement “not just election spin” but “a vision of apartheid”.

In a speech on Israeli TV, Netanyahu said “I am waiting to do this in maximum coordination with [Donald] Trump”. A White House official told the Guardian that US policy had not changed and that they “would not comment further”.

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