World News: Netanyahu, Gantz Claim Victory In Israeli Closely-Fought Parliamentary Elections

Friday, 12 Apr, 2019

With some 97 percent of votes in the election counted, Netanyahu's Likud party was tied with Blue and White, but his right-wing/ultra-Orthodox bloc held a decisive lead.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory in the election.

Matthews said Trump's apparent intervention in Israeli elections was unprecedented, but did not mention how President Obama's State Department gave grant money to OneVoice, an Israeli political group and opponent of Netanyahu.

Despite that, Netanyahu gained four seats compared to his outgoing coalition government, according to a spreadsheet published by the Central Elections Committee of parties that garnered enough votes to enter the next parliament.

Netanyahu celebrated his projected win Tuesday night with scores of supporters who were waving President Trump flags, aware of their longtime friendship.

However, the biggest mistake for Gantz is that he chose to have a rotation agreement [as prime minister] with Blue and White cofounder Yair Lapid, former finance minister and TV personality.

Israel's incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on course for a record fifth term, election results show.

"It's a night of tremendous victory", Netanyahu told supporters early Wednesday, adding that he had already begun talking to fellow right-wing and religious parties about forming a coalition.

Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been frozen since the US-brokered process collapsed in 2014 amid mutual accusations of blame.

Netanyahu's message of unity was a sharp contrast from his campaign theme in which he accused Gantz of conspiring with Arab parties to topple him.

Nearly 200 progressive British Jews watched the election results come in at the JW3 culture centre in Finchley, listening to a panel of Israeli and Palestinian experts convened by Yachad, New Israel Fund and One Voice.

In the words of Haaretz, Israel's national newspaper, Netanyahu's long political career path is due to the fact that "Israelis are like smokers who would really like to quit, but who believe they cannot function without their constant dose of nicotine".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks to have secured his fifth term in office, putting him in position to become the country's longest ever serving premier.

Though the Palestinian issue was rarely mentioned in the raucous campaign, Netanyahu in the final stretch pledged for the first time to annex parts of the occupied West Bank in a desperate bid to rally his right-wing base.

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The Palestinians have reacted to the results by saying that Israelis voted to "maintain the status quo" in the region. PA sources say that they have no practical ways to prevent this.

Now the tough part: a coalition government needs to be created.

It is a move long championed by Israel's far right.

"We must be able to transcend his current leadership to make sure that that alliance is strong, that we continue to push for and settle for nothing less than a two-state solution, because that is the best opportunity for peace for the people of Israel and the people of Palestine", O'Rourke said.

Although Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in occupied East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and living under Israeli siege in the Gaza Strip do not have voting right in the Israeli elections, it's the Palestinian population that will be most affected by the new government.