Israeli elections finish in near stalemate with a slight advantage for Blue and White
- Naftali Bennet publishes alleged map for the deal of the century that gives away 90% of Judea and Samaria
With near final results (99.8%) from Tuesday’s elections, it appears to be a near stalemate between the left and right wing parties.
- Blue and White: 33
- Likud: 31
- Joint Arab List: 13
- Shas: 9
- United Torah Judaism: 8
- Yisrael Beytenu: 8
- Yamina: 7
- Labor-Gesher: 6
- Democratic Union: 5
Altogether, the left-wing bloc stands at 57 seats (assuming the Arab list joins) and the right-wing bloc at 55. To form a coalition, one needs a minimum of 61 seats.
What does this mean for the immediate future of Israel, and the biblical heartland? In short, it’s hard to say yet. This week’s elections seem to be a near copy of the April elections, which is not very good news since Avigdor Lieberman refused to sit in Netanyahu’s government, and he very well could do the same again. This, of course, is assuming that Netanyahu has the chance to form a government this go around, which is questionable, since Blue and White headed by Benny Gantz received two more seats than Likud.
Avigdor Lieberman has already stated emphatically that he will not sit in a coalition government with Likud unless the draft law is passed, and unless public transportation is allowed to operate on Shabbat. The draft law would force all Israeli citizens to serve in the IDF, a move which would likely turn away the Ultra-Orthodox parties from sitting in the coalition.
On the other hand, Lieberman has also stated that he will in no way sit in a coalition with Benny Gantz if the Joint Arab List is included, which makes things difficult since they are now the third largest party in Israel.
Altogether, things do not look good for Gantz or Netanyahu to form a coalition. Two options seem to be at the forefront of discussions: 1) form a unity government with Likud and Blue and White, or 2) the right gets lays aside their differences and comes together to form a coalition. The only other option is to go to elections for a third time, which would likely happen in February 2020.
Let’s talk about Yamina, which makes up several of the most conservative parties in Israel, and came together as a technical bloc with Ayelet Shaked at their head to try and garner more votes. Unifying did not seem to work in their favor however, because they only ended up with seven seats.
In what appeared to be a dramatic political stunt by Naftali Bennet, Yamina published a map just days before the election showing what they claimed the Deal of the Century would entail for Judea and Samaria.
As you can see below, according to Bennet’s map, the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area would be annexed, as promised by Netanyahu. Ninety percent of the rest of Judea and Samaria would be made into a Palestinian State, with most of the current settlements being annexed into Israel, and only connected to each other and Israel proper by roads.
One does not need to be an expert on Israel to know that this would be suicide for the Jewish state. Can you imagine driving on a road that is surrounded on all sides by a Palestinian state? Enough Jews are murdered as it is, and I do not say that lightly.
I will not elaborate more here on the dangers of what this alleged map along with a peace deal could do for Israel. We will have no way of knowing whether it is accurate until the actual peace plan is released, perhaps in the coming weeks. A local resident of Har Bracha however, has said that he thinks the map is an accurate depiction.
Here is the real danger. With Blue and White headed by Benny Gantz receiving the largest number of seats in the elections, the chance that he may be tasked with forming the next government is very real. Let’s lay out a possible scenario out very clearly:
- Benny Gantz forms a left wing government coalition.
- The Deal of the Century is released immediately after Israel’s new Knesset is formed.
- The peace plan calls for Israel to give up land, settlements, and evacuate Jewish settlers from Judea and Samaria.
- A Palestinian state is formed in the land that Israel gives up.
While Likud called Naftali Bennet’s map fake news, we can almost certainly say that President Trump’s peace plan will call for some concessions in the biblical heartland. The only question is how much. He referenced multiple times in speeches over the last several years that since Israel received the American’s recognition of their capital in Jerusalem, they would need to be prepared to give up something in favor of the Palestinians.
Even if the plan does not call for Israel to give up 90% of Judea and Samaria, what percentage would be acceptable? 10, 20 or 40%? Maybe only 40,000 Jews would be forced to leave their homes? Even one Jewish home being destroyed and one Jewish family being evacuated is one too much.
I can already hear those saying, “But the Palestinians will not accept a deal that allows Israel to keep any settlements! They’ve proven that over the last 30 years”.
What if President Trump, in a move that would be characteristic of his bold personality, bypasses the Palestinian Authority? What if the U.S. Administration partners with France, Saudi Arabia, and/or the United Nations, and forces a Palestinian State in the biblical heartland?
What will our response be as Zionist Christians?