Reports and commentaries in the Guardian (as well as in the mainstream media) analyzing Israel’s upcoming election which warn of a far-right shift within the Israeli electorate have been ubiquitous. Much of the reporting has focused on the possibility that Binyamin Netanyahu’s party may form a more right-wing coalition government following the election, one which will be injurious – if not fatal – to the “peace process”.
Here are excerpts from such prognostications on the Guardian’s Israel page since early January.
The left in Israel is its own worst enemy, Rachel Shabi, ‘Comment is Free’, Jan. 21
“Israel is expected to elect the most right-wing government in its history on Tuesday…”
Binyamin Netanyahu rejects calls for Palestinian State within 1967 lines, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 20:
“…a strengthening of the hard right in the next parliament [is expected]“
Obama’s dysfunctional relationship with Netanyahu likely to trundle on, Chris McGreal, Guardian, Jan 20:
…disillusioned former peace negotiators and Middle East policy officials expect his “dysfunctional” and confrontational relationship with Binyamin Netanyahu to stagger along even if the Israeli prime minister returns to power after Tuesday’s election with a government even further to the right of the present one.”
Arab gloom as Israel shifts rightward, Ian Black, Guardian, Jan. 19:
“To measure just how far Israeli politics have shifted to the right it is worth recalling that 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the Oslo accords in which Israel and the PLO recognized each other…
But with Netanyahu poised to return to power at the head of a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before…”
Binyamin Netanyahu on course to win Israeli elections, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 18:
Binyamin Netanyahu is on course to head a more hawkish and pro-settler government following Tuesday’s elections,
Support has drained to the ultra-nationalist, pro-settler Jewish Home, led by Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Naftali Bennett, in an indication of the hardening of opinion on the right of the Israeli political spectrum.”
Peace process dead if Netanyahu wins Israeli election, academics war, Paul Owen, Guardian, Jan. 15:
“The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is dead if Binyamin Netanyahu wins next week’s Israeli election, leading academics have warned.” [quote from strap line]
Jewish Americans may be increasingly disenchanted with Netanyahu. But their priorities lie elsewhere, Peter Beinart, Guardian, Jan. 12:
“In Israel, public discourse is moving right. You can see it in the rise ofIsrael Hayom, the free, pro-Likud newspaper that has eclipsed Israel’s more traditional, centrist press. You can see it in the rise of Naftali Bennett, the settler leader whose party could come in third in the elections due later this month. You can see it the election campaign as a whole, in which the two-state solution is a virtual afterthought.”
Israel election: country prepares for next act in the great moving right show, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 12:
“Secular liberalism once dominated politics in Israel, but polls next week are set to confirm a long-term shift to the right“
Naftali Bennett interview: ‘There won’t be a Palestinian state within Israel‘, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 7:
“Jewish Home is all but certain to be part of the next coalition government, tilting it significantly further to the right.”
Binyamin Netanyahu: strong man with a fearful heart. Peter Beaumont, Observer, Jan. 5:
“The question of the nature of Netanyahu’s conservatism has been complicated by Israel’s right-shifting political scene.”
Israel’s shift to the right will alienate those it needs most, Jonathan Freedland, ‘Comment is Free’, Jan. 4:
“For now the focus is on the Israeli elections of 22 January. The polls suggest that a government ranked as one of the most right-wing in Israel’s history is set to be replaced by one even further to the right
Even if Bennett is kept out of coalition, Netanyahu will still head a more rightist government.
The centre of gravity is about to shift so far rightward that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”
Meanwhile, if you were curious about the political center of gravity in Palestinian society, you wouldn’t find much information on the Guardian’s ‘Palestinian territories’ page.
In fact, the ‘Israel’ page and the ‘Palestinian territories’ page look exactly the same:
Guardian Israel page, Jan. 21:
Now, here’s the Guardian’s Palestinian territory page, Jan. 21:
However, for those interested, news regarding a possible extreme right Palestinian political coalition – which was reported in the Algemeiner, as well as in the Arab media - may provide some vital insight into Palestinian political culture.
The Algemeiner reported the following on Jan. 20:
“A member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Dr. Ahmed Majdalani, told Al-Quds newspaper that he expects Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join with the PLO after National Council elections later this month, though the government will still headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.”
Hamas, in case it needs reminding, is an Islamist terrorist group which refuses to recognize a Jewish state within any borders, cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their founding charter, and whose leaders calls for the mass murder of Jews. Hamas advocates the destruction of Israel through violent means, indoctrinates their children to become suicide bombers, and displays extreme intolerance towards women, gays, non-Muslims and their Palestinian political opponents.
Islamic Jihad (PIJ) , funded by Iran, is another radical Islamist terrorist group, which was formed in 1979 by fundamentalists in Egypt who split from the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood because they were deemed too moderate. PIJ advocates the destruction of Israel through violent means, indoctrinates their children to become suicide bombers, and displays extreme intolerance towards women, gays, non-Muslims and their Palestinian political opponents.
Even if PIJ doesn’t join with the PLO, Hamas and Fatah are currently working out plans to implement, by the end of this month, previous reconciliation agreements signed between the two parties.
So, any way you look at it, right-wing extremism within Palestinian politics is evidently so endemic that “terror groups who urge the ethnic cleansing of Jews” are considered mainstream – a dangerous phenomena which would certainly explain why, at least on national security issues, citizens of the Jewish state seem to have reached a more right leaning political consensus.
Of course, a truly “liberal” media institution would report on Palestine’s dangerous extreme right-wing drift, condemn a possible political coalition which includes groups espousing homicidal antisemitism – and which would necessarily end any hopes of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement – and contextualize Israeli political sentiments accordingly.
In other words, you won’t read much about Israel’s legitimate fears regarding the ominous strengthening of the Palestinian extremist right on the pages of the Guardian.