News / Middle East

Palestinians See No Hope for Peace in Israeli Polls

A Druze woman casts her ballot for the parliamentary election at a polling station in the northern Druze-Arab village of Maghar, Israel, January 22, 2013.
A Druze woman casts her ballot for the parliamentary election at a polling station in the northern Druze-Arab village of Maghar, Israel, January 22, 2013.
Reuters
— Palestinians evinced weary indifference on Tuesday as Israelis voted in an election set to produce a hardline government keener to expand Jewish settlements on occupied land than seek peace.

"Regardless of who wins, the result is the same: Israelis want this land but not the people,'' said Ahmed Amro, a professor at Al-Quds Open University in Ramallah, the West Bank's capital.

"The Palestinians should have a plan to face this situation we're in, and not put much stock in who wins,'' he said of the four million people under Israeli occupation or blockade.
    
Israel has occupied the West Bank since capturing it in the 1967 Middle East War, along with east Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. Gaza has remained under tight curbs on movement since Israeli soldiers and settlers withdrew in 2005.
    
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) casts his ballot for the parliamentary election as his wife Sara (3rdL) stands nearby at a polling station in Jerusalem, January 22, 2013.Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) casts his ballot for the parliamentary election as his wife Sara (3rdL) stands nearby at a polling station in Jerusalem, January 22, 2013.
x
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) casts his ballot for the parliamentary election as his wife Sara (3rdL) stands nearby at a polling station in Jerusalem, January 22, 2013.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) casts his ballot for the parliamentary election as his wife Sara (3rdL) stands nearby at a polling station in Jerusalem, January 22, 2013.
Opinion polls predict that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will return to power at the head of a coalition dominated by hardline religious and nationalist pro-settler parties which give short shrift to U.S.-backed peace efforts.

"We hope this election will lead to peace, to the recognition of the Palestinian state and to the rights of the Palestinian people,'' said Gaza physician Hussein Ekelan.

"But all indications say Netanyahu will win, and this will be a big disaster,'' he said.
   
Palestinians divided 

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2010 over the building of settlements in the West Bank, which Palestinians say deny them a viable future state.
    
Palestinians themselves have struggled to elect a national government that present a united front against Israel's policies and further their decades-long quest for independence.

Parliamentary polls in 2006 gave the Islamist Hamas group a surprise win, shocking Israel and Western countries who consider it a terrorist organisation, and leading to a brief civil war with its secular Fatah rivals in Gaza the following year.

Entrenched in Gaza, Hamas has not allowed elections in six years and expelled an election committee meant to pave the way for new polls as part of a stalled unity plan in 2012.
    
Fatah held local polls in the West Bank which Hamas boycotted, leading to a disappointing turnout.

​Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also Fatah's leader, has outstayed his term by three years since he was elected in 2005.
    
While Palestinians are united in dismissing Israel's elections, their internal political rifts remain deep.
    
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, waves to the crowd during celebrations for their successful bid to win U.N. statehood recognition in the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 2, 2012.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, waves to the crowd during celebrations for their successful bid to win U.N. statehood recognition in the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 2, 2012.
x
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, waves to the crowd during celebrations for their successful bid to win U.N. statehood recognition in the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 2, 2012.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, waves to the crowd during celebrations for their successful bid to win U.N. statehood recognition in the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 2, 2012.
Hamas rejects Israel's right to exist and opposes U.S.-sponsored negotiations, advocating armed struggle instead. Abbas has put his faith in diplomacy, but neither strategy has brought Palestinians much closer to achieving their national aspirations.

Asked of their hopes for Israel's polls, three grocers in a Ramallah store all mumbled: "What does it matter?''

"Labor, Likud, there's no difference,'' Mohammad Zaid said, mentioning the main leftwing and rightwing Israeli parties.

"Me, I care what happens on the street here in Palestine, and I don't like what Hamas does. I vote yellow, I vote for the keffiyeh,'' he said, pointing to his black-and-white chequered scarf, a symbol of Fatah along with its trademark colour.

"You're being a bit partisan,'' his bearded colleague said.

"You're with Hamas,'' his friends retorted, laughing.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid