News Analysis – Peace talks unlikely to progress under Israeli all right-wing gov’t

SHAFAQNA – Palestinians doubt that the Middle East peace process would move forward following the recent formation of an all-right-wing government under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to analysts.

They expect that Israel’s far right-wing coalition would lead to an escalation in settlement construction, and less Palestinian confidence, which would reflect poorly on the possibility of resuming the peace talks between them.

Last week, Netanyahu has finally secured a one-seat majority coalition only hours before a deadline to form the next government.

Samir Awad, political science professor at Beir Zeit University in the West Bank, told Shafaqna it is obvious the Palestinians do not welcome the new Israeli government, adding that the coalition will not be helpful in ending occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s Likud party four other right-wing parties in the coalition strongly support the settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories.

“The substance of the new coalition is to intensify settlement, therefore there are no indications to push forward the peace process,” said Awad, adding “the Palestinians will carry on with internationalizing their cause and show Israel not serious.”

Asked if this will lead to an escalation of violence in the future, Awad said “this depends on the Palestinian leadership; if it achieves progress with the international community, there will be no need of violence, but in case peace is absent, everything will be possible.”

In 2012, Palestine upgraded its diplomatic representation in the United Nations to a non-member observer state, and in April this year, it officially became a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Hani el-Masri, director of the Ramallah-based Badil Center for Researches and Studies, told Shafaqna, “the results of the last parliamentary elections showed that Israel is becoming more extreme, and therefore, there is no possibility for reaching a real peace agreement that ends the occupation.”

“Therefore, I think that the Palestinian cause is in a crisis, facing real and serious challenge and unprecedented deterioration. I think Israel will grab the opportunity to expand settlement and undermine all the chances of establishing an independent Palestinian state,” said al-Masri.

Furthermore, feuds and disputes between Islamic Hamas movement and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party are weakening the Palestinians, which make them unable to confront Israel politically and diplomatically.

Meanwhile, in spite of the current Palestinian pessimism concerning the new Israeli right-wing coalition, Palestinian observers ruled out that Israel would soon wage another war on the Gaza Strip unless new developments occur on the ground.

Last summer, Israel launched a large-scale military air and ground operation on the Gaza Strip for 50 days, killing more than 2,000 Palestinians and injuring about 11,000 others. The war on Gaza also left large destruction in housing and infrastructure.

Adnan Abu A’amer, political science professor at al-Ummah University in Gaza, told Shafaqna “the Israeli government with its new right-wing coalition doesn’t look different from other former ones, mainly in its structure and its political attitudes.”

“The Likud Party will be in control of the three major portfolios in the new coalition, which are the prime minister, the defense ministry and the foreign ministry,” said Abu A’emer, adding “therefore, I believe the political attitudes towards Gaza will dramatically change in terms of having a long-term truce.”

He explained that both Israel and Hamas have a common interest to avoid a war that would cost both sides a heavy price, adding: “I believe Netanyahu and Hamas are in favor of a long-term truce that might lead to ending military actions and the Israeli siege.”

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