Published: Sat, April 13, 2019

Gantz Congratulates Netanyahu on Win...Three Days After Election

Gantz Congratulates Netanyahu on Win...Three Days After Election

With more than 99 percent of votes counted-ballots cast by soldiers at military bases will be tallied over the next two days-Netanyahu's conservative Likud party looked likely to muster enough support to control 65 of the Knesset's 120 seats and be named to head the next coalition government.

Trapped in a vortex of violence between Hezbollah-backed Hamas of Ismail Haniyeh and the Israeli Defense Forces, shorn of support from the Gulf states who have warmed to Mr Netanyahu as their new ally in the war against common enemy Tehran, the Palestinians have lost what little support there was for a Palestinian state; be it, two state or one.

Now, attention shifts to President Reuven Rivlin, who announced he would receive party representatives at his residence on Monday to hear their recommendations for who should be the next prime minister.

The close and often vitriolic contest was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Netanyahu's character and record in the face of corruption allegations.

"He's a magician!" the crowd chanted as fireworks flared and Netanyahu kissed his wife Sara. Trump moved the USA embassy to Jerusalem last May, further angering Palestinians.

Born close to or after the 1993 Oslo peace accords between the Israelis and Palestinians, and coming of age during the second Palestinian "intifada", Israel's young people take a harder line on security and peace than older generations.

Despite the loss, he said he was satisfied with the votes his party achieved weeks after its formation. Palestinians seek a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Commenting on the election, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "Israelis have voted to preserve the status quo".

"Everybody says you can't have peace in the Middle East, with Israel and the Palestinians", Trump told reporters at the White House.

"The hope or yearning for peace is foreign to them", said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a think tank in Jerusalem, told the Journal.

"As strong, life-long supporters of Israel, a U.S. -Israel relationship rooted in our shared values, and the two-state solution, we are greatly concerned by the possibility of Israel taking unilateral steps to annex the West Bank". In his previous coalition, some of the smaller right-wing parties intimated that an indictment would mark the end of Netanyahu's time in office.

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