If a leftwinger wins an election it’s a clear mandate. The guy the New York Times and Dem0crats hate wins? He’s forfeited any claim to represent Israelis. OK.
Israel’s election has done a lot to reveal the challenges facing the country and the intentions of the men who seek to lead it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outrightrejection of a Palestinian state and his racist rant against Israeli Arab voterson Tuesday showed that he has forfeited any claim to representing all Israelis.
Mr. Netanyahu, with two years to go in his current term, called the election in December for reasons that are still unclear. He expected to win an easy victory and then ended up fighting for his political life in a bitter battle with Isaac Herzog, the leader of the new center-left Zionist Union alliance and son of a former Israeli president. With 99.5 percent of the ballots counted, the YNet news site reported Wednesday morning that Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party had possibly won 30 seats in the Knesset and Mr. Herzog’s Zionist Union had got 24 seats.
While Mr. Netanyahu ended up with more seats, it is Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, who will decide which leader gets to cobble together the next coalition government, the norm in a multiparty state where no one party has ever won an outright majority in the 120-member Knesset. The process could take six weeks, and religious parties are likely to hold the key to victory, an asset for Mr. Netanyahu.
Mr. Netanyahu showed that he was desperate, and craven, enough to pull out all the stops. On Monday, he promised that if his Likud faction remained in power, he would never allow the creation of a Palestinian state, thus repudiating a position he had taken in 2009.
His behavior in the past six years — aggressively building Israeli homes on land that likely would be within the bounds of a Palestinian state and never engaging seriously in negotiations — has long convinced many people that he has no interest in a peace agreement. But his statement this week laid bare his duplicity, confirmed Palestinian suspicions and will make it even harder for him to repair his poisoned relations with President Obama, who has invested heavily in pushing a two-state solution.
Big loser in all this? Obama and his meddling minions.
But along the way he angered the president of the United States with a speech to Congress and infuriated European leaders eager to see the peace process move ahead to create a Palestinian state.