Benjamin Netanyahu Didn’t Lose Israel’s Elections, and Democracy Won

While the final tallies of Monday’s votes are not yet in, it appears that, unlike in the previous two elections, the Likud party outperformed its main rival, Blue and White, by four Knesset seats. Yet the results remain ambiguous, as the prime minister will need and does not yet appear to have the 61 Knesset seats it will take to form a governing coalition. Nevertheless, Ruthie Blum notes that some things are unequivocal about the election results:

[V]oter turnout reached 71 percent, the highest in 21 years. Despite public whining about “election fatigue,” and surveys suggesting that the political deadlock would not be broken, citizens came out in record numbers to cast their ballots. Contrary to descriptions of countrywide malaise, the atmosphere at polling stations was cheerful and energetic. Social media were rife with smiling selfies of voters doing their civic duty, as well as photos of children accompanying their parents in the process.

Even most of the 5,500 Israelis subjected to house quarantine—as a result of possibly being exposed to the coronavirus—showed up at the sixteen special tents set up for them across the country. Though they complained of long lines, they appeared to be happy to be out in the world after spending several days stuck in isolation, with only Netflix to keep them company.

As for Benjamin Netanyahu, even if his victory was “amazing, but not sufficient,” to Blum one thing is clear:

This election constituted a defeat of the “anybody but Bibi” hysteria. It represented a win for the sane center-right that believes in Netanyahu’s handling of domestic and foreign affairs, and strongly opposes the tyranny of the courts. It also illustrated that Israelis care about ideas and actions, and that they are not as swayed by empty slogans and outrageous assertions as certain politicians seem to imagine.

Read more at JNS

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2020, Israeli politics

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas