Were elections a referendum on Trump’s peace plan? Then what did we learn?

It’s expected that the peace plan will be rolled out once Israel’s new government has been formally sworn in, but a date has yet to be set.

By
April 12, 2019 03:37
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump sees Prime Minister Netanyahu off from the White House in Washington

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump sees Prime Minister Netanyahu off from the White House in Washington. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 US President Donald Trump enthused on Wednesday that his soon-to-be-launched “Deal-of-the-Century” plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was more likely to succeed now that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won Tuesday’s election.

“I think now we have a better chance with Bibi having won,” Trump said.

He might be one of the few people who think so.

The Palestinians, who have rejected Trump’s plan sight unseen, said they believed the election results shows that Israelis rejected the two-state solution in favor of “apartheid” and “occupation.”

The international community, which holds that a two-state resolution to the conflict must be at the pre-1967 Green Line is also shaking its head, particularly given that they are worried that Trump’s peace plan will deviate from past parameters.

At a congressional hearing on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to commit to a two-state resolution.

It’s expected that the peace plan will be rolled out once Israel’s new government has been formally sworn in, but a date has yet to be set.

With more than 97% of the votes counted, what do the results say about the stance of the Israeli public and the newly-elected MKs on a two-state resolution or any resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians?

It’s presumed, for example, that the plan would need Knesset approval. In that case, which scenarios would pass easily and which would be rejected? The election results also reveal what unilateral steps, such as annexation, the 21st Knesset might support.

Annexation of all of the West Bank: 4.1% or 5 seats

Only one party, the Union of Right Wing Parties (URP), which holds 5 Knesset seats and received 4.1% of the vote, supports the annexation of the entire West Bank.

The URP’s platform calls for the application of sovereignty in Areas A, B and C. In addition, it wants to rescind the 2005 Disengagement, in which Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip and evacuated the 21 settlements there. Israel also quit four settlements in northern Samaria. The party supports the eventual return of Israel to Gaza, including the rebuilding of all destroyed settlements. It also wants to reestablish the northern Samaria settlements uprooted 14 years ago. “We see the territory of Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip as an integral part of the State of Israel.”

Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza would not have the right to vote in the national elections, meaning for the Knesset and the prime minister. But they could vote in municipal or council elections. Aside from the matter of voting, they would have all the other rights afforded Israeli citizens. Palestinians in Gaza would also be encouraged to emigrate.

Zehut, the other party that clearly about spoke about annexation of all the West Bank during the elections, did not receive enough votes to enter the Knesset.

Partial West Bank annexation: 30% or 36 seats

The presumptive leading Likud party, which received 30% or 36 Knesset seats, has vocally supported partial annexation. Since the party has no written platform, its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been defined by statements of the party’s leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power for a decade.

Most of the party members have spoken of their support for some form of West Bank annexation, but Netanyahu refused to pledge his support for it. In addition, he thwarted all legislative attempts to annex territory put forward by parliamentarians in the last Knesset. But during the last three days of the campaign, he promised to gradually annex portions of the West Bank if voters put him back in office for a fourth consecutive term.

He statements appeared to indicate that he was only referencing portions of Area C, where all the settlements are located.

The New Right Party which supports the annexation of Area C of the West Bank, did not receive enough votes to enter the Knesset.

Full Palestinian statehood at the 67 lines: 8.3% or 10 seats

Four left-wing parties, three of them Arab-Israeli and one communist, support a militarized Palestinian state and place its borders at the pre-1967 lines. The parties, ran as two entities, Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am-Balad.

Palestinian statehood minus: 42.5% or 51 seats

Only two parties — the Left-wing Labor and Meretz parties — clearly support a Palestinian state, but do not think it should have military control. Meretz holds that it should be protected by an international forced.

Three parties — Labor, Likud and Yisrael Beytenu — believe that the IDF should control all of the West Bank, but that the Palestinians should have governmental autonomy there. This understanding has been characterized as Palestinian statehood minus.

Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar Ilan University speech, in which he spoke of two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace, often serves as a reference point regarding the Likud’s stance.

The Palestinian state which Netanyahu envisioned in his Bar Ilan speech would have full governmental autonomy but would be demilitarized. The IDF would continue to have full military control of the West Bank. Netanyahu has never defined the territory that would be under Palestinian autonomy, or the boundaries of Israel’s final sovereign borders.

During the election campaign, Netanyahu told Arutz 7, ”A Palestinian state will not be created, not like the one people are talking about. It won’t happen.” He added, “The Palestinians can have all the powers to govern themselves, but none to threaten us, which means we maintain security control.”

Palestinian economic autonomy: 32.5% or 39 seats

The Kulanu party, which received 3.3% of the vote and four Knesset seats, has rejected the idea of a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The party supports economic prosperity for the Palestinians in the West Bank, but believes the issue of Palestinian autonomy should be handled through negotiations.

Peace with the Palestinians can only be advanced through the formula of “peace for peace,” according to the party platform which added that it also must be done the with the recognition of the historic right of the Jewish people to a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.

The Blue and White Party, which has 29.2% of the vote and 35 seats, has made no mention of Palestine statehood but has nodded in the direction of Palestinian autonomy. “We will facilitate accelerated economic development in the Palestinian Authority territories and will maintain an open horizon for political settlement in the future,” its platform states.

Not the ‘67 line, but would uproots settlements: 42% or 50 seats

Four parties – Meretz, Labor, Yisrael Beytenu and Blue and White – support the uprooting of some of the settlements.

Meretz believes in a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the pre-1967 lines. It would allow for territorial swaps done by a one-to-one ration.

It supports a freeze in West Bank settlements located on territory that would become part of a Palestinian state. It holds that a small number of settlements would be included within sovereign Israel as part of the peace deal.

The Labor party supports retention of the settlements blocs and wants to freeze the isolated settlements.

Both parties would support enacting a compensation evacuation law to help the residents of those settlement that would be evacuated leave voluntarily.

The Yisrael Beytenu’s platform calls for a regional peace deal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that involves a territorial and population swap with the Palestinians. This plans speaks to changing territorial boundaries that would place Israeli-Arabs in high density locations under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority,  but would not include their physical relocation of people.

The plan would be executed by redrawing the map of Israel to include all areas with a high Jewish populations, in Area C of the West Bank.

The Blue and White Party promised not to unilaterally evacuate territory, as was done in the 2005 Disengagement Plan. It did not rule out such a step, noting that any territorial concessions would be made either with the support of a referendum or approval of a special majority of the Knesset.

Refuses to uproot settlements: 34.1% or 41 seats

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Union of Right Wing Parties object to the uprooting of any settlements.

A united Jerusalem: at least 67% or 80 seats

Among the 21st Knesset members, there is overwhelming support for a united Jerusalem, with the Union of Right Wing Parties, Kulanu and Blue and White all stating it clearly in their platforms. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has clearly stated his support for a united Jerusalem. It’s presumed that a number of other parties, including the religious parties would similarly take this stand.

A divided Jerusalem: 11.6% or 14 seats

The Hadash-Ta’al, Ra’am-Balad and the Meretz parties support a divided Jerusalem with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

No diplomatic policy: 12.5% of 15 seats

United Torah Judaism and Shas do not have a clear diplomatic policy. The two religious parties rely on the advice of their rabbinical sages and are likely to support the position of the government when they sit in a coalition.


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