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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs