Arabs fear rise of Israeli rightist bloc

Palestinian professor says if Kadima and Labor fail to win many votes, it will be a sign of victory for Hamas.

arab votes 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
arab votes 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Arabs are following the Israeli elections with concern, fearing a rise in power of the Israeli Right. Polls conducted ahead of the elections indicate the next government will likely be led by Binyamin Netanyahu and will include a coalition of mostly right-leaning parties. Gazans are generally indifferent about these elections, because they believe that whoever wins the most votes, whether Likud or Kadima, they are all one bloc that acts against the Palestinians, Naji Shurab, a political science professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, said. However, Shurab added that more educated Palestinians see the nuances between the parties. They fear a future hawkish government in Israel that includes Likud and other right-wing parties will derail the peace process. "They believe these parties will resume the aggression against Gaza and maybe won't respect agreements concluded with the Palestinians," Shurab told The Media Line. "You cannot understand the Palestinian political picture without the effect of Israel upon the Palestinian political variables," he said. "I think the Israeli elections are a primary variable." Arab concerns are being reflected in headlines and news reports throughout the Arab world. The headline in the London-based pan-Arab daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat on Election Day was "Israeli elections: Between the Right and the extreme Right." "We're witnessing the Israeli rivals in the election campaign outbidding each other in ultra-extremism, as a way to gain more votes," said an editorial in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds. "Israeli society has turned more extreme, and moved much further from peace and its obligations," it said. Shurab said that if Kadima and Labor fail to gain many votes in the election, it would be a sign of victory for what he called resistance movements such as Hamas. It will prove that despite the recent campaign against Hamas in Gaza, both parties failed to gain more popularity among the Israeli public, he explained. A cartoon in the London-based Al-Quds Al-'Arabi showed a dove of peace with its wings tied, heading for the gallows on top of an Israeli election box. An opinion piece written by an Israeli Arab, which appeared on the Hamas Web site, said the right-wing parties were exploiting Palestinian blood for their election campaigns. "The Likud, headed by Netanyahu, and Israel Beiteinu, headed by [Avigdor] Lieberman, are trying to radicalize the Israeli voter by displaying extremism and pushing for murder, tyranny and continuing the siege on our people in Gaza," he wrote.