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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More