Legislative elections: The new face of Israel?

published on 08.11.2022

Israeli legislative elections on November 1, the fourth in less than two years, ended with an absolute majority given to Benyamin Netanyahu’s coalition – 64 seats, including 32 held by religious and fundamentalist Jewish parties out of 120 MPs – characterized by the entry of the racist, colonialist, nationalist and Jewish supremacist extreme right.

The “Religious Zionist Party”, a grouping of three extremist formations conceived and developed by the former prime minister – accused of corruption – took 14 seats: two racist fascist provocateurs, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir, are now “respected” MPs , breaking a red line that various parties had so far set for themselves, including Netanyahu’s Likud (32 seats). To these is added the Shas party, an ultra-orthodox Sephardic and Judeo-Arab religion (11 seats, i.e. 2 more than in 2021), which dreams of eventually transforming the country into a theocracy combined with an Ashkenazi alliance, the Union for Judaism Torah. 7 countries). Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”), the center-right party of Yair Lapid, the outgoing head of the government that claimed the role of opposition leader in Netanyahu’s bloc, won 24 seats. Among the left-wing opposition parties, Labor won only 4 seats and Meretz was eliminated, as the two organizations failed to unite. As for the former Joint List, only Hadash remained, consisting of the Communists and Ta’al. They got 5 places. As for the other two former List members, Balad’s Arab nationalists who had just split from Hadash-Ta’al were eliminated, while the Islamists of the Joint Arab List – who had been part of the “anti-Netanyahu” majority – left – won 5 mandates.

“Yesterday, Israel woke up to the dawn of a new day, where all hesitations and euphemisms are now a thing of the past. From now on, occupation is a fact, as is Jewish supremacy in Israel. From now on, Zionism will be promoted to the level of outright racism. Yesterday the death of the green line [de démarcation entre Israël et la Palestine occupée en 1967 – ndt] it has been officially declared: the invasion is here, everywhere”. This cry of anger and despair was written by a well-known international and Israeli columnist, Gideon Levy, in the November 3, 2022 edition of the daily Haaretz.

And he continues, noting that blaming the Netanyahu camp’s victory for fracturing a motley opposition would only be a “temporary pain reliever” for “a terminal illness,” “The society that has emerged in in broad daylight here it is part religious and part racist, with hatred of Arabs as the main fuel, and no one has been found to speak against it.

The beautiful image of the “only democracy in the Middle East” has been seriously tarnished and discredited by these recent elections, which mark the emergence in broad daylight of a reality resulting from the occupation, colonization of the West Bank and the transformation of the Belt and Road of Gaza in open prison. This strategy of annexation is legitimized by the pernicious distortion of the ideological premises and original hopes of an undoubtedly multiple and diverse human community, victim of secular persecutions in its various countries of origin and the unspeakable crime of the Holocaust. The aspiration finally realized for a land of refuge in 1948 had the tragic consequences of the Nakba, the catastrophic exodus of the indigenous Palestinian population, victims of ethnic cleansing and war crimes – some of which have only recently been discovered – of carried out by many people to whom the international community had given a part of this composite space “between the sea and the Jordan”. The existence of the State of Israel is and remains, we emphasize, a legitimate and inviolable reality. It is internationally recognized as such within the boundaries defined and reaffirmed by United Nations Resolution 242 which calls for the withdrawal of occupying troops from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to form the Palestinian State.

“A people that oppresses another is not a free people,” wrote Marx. And that’s really what it’s about: the regression to a 19th-century messianic Zionism, the racist fascism of the majority of Israel’s Jewish population is, at the same time, the unspoken expression of a sense of disunity. , with his fellow Arabs, a nation worth living in, and the blindness into which this population has been plunged by the culture – carefully maintained by the dominant political (and religious) leaders – of fear of invasion by the “enemy” and destruction. from “terrorism”. It should be noted that the previous majority in the Knesset refused to allow the term Israeli “nationality” to appear on the identity cards and passports of Israeli citizens on the grounds that this could challenge the Jewish supremacy established by the recent law. nation-state of the Jewish people”, approved on July 19, 2018. This, let’s remember, protects both the exclusivity of the right to self-determination for Jewish citizens and the colonization of the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s program includes not only the continuation of this deadly blind policy for this young nation, but also devastating blows to democracy based on parliamentary representation and the separation of powers. With his allies, whom he will have to listen to if he cannot stay in power, Netanyahu has already planned to launch several legislative projects. First and foremost is the bill that authorizes the Knesset to overturn any decision of the Supreme Court for violation of the “Basic Laws” (which govern the country in the absence of a Constitution) with a text of law approved by the same Knesset. This would allow Netanyahu to be elected prime minister even if he is convicted of corruption in the current cases. At the same time, the Supreme Court, whose members are currently appointed by the President of the State, should in the future consist only of judges elected by the Knesset (Hungarian Orban is a model…).

The “religious” parties’ demands for “reform” range from removing the tax on disposable cutlery and sugary drinks (essentially bought by large “religious” families) to confirming the refusal to ratify the International Convention against Violence against Women (known as “Istanbul”), strengthening the cessation of all activity on the Sabbath, reintroducing “conversion therapies” for LGPTQ people, adapting school curricula to Torah within a general context of religious supremacy. the law on rules governing privacy and national life. More disturbingly, these “religious” fundamentalists want to vote to authorize Jewish prayers in the realm of mosques, contrary to agreements with Jordan for this third holiest site in Islam. Remember that the second Intifada was triggered after General Sharon’s visit to this country to “mark Israel’s sovereignty”.

With Ben Gvir and Smotrich, one seeking the post of Minister of Internal Security and the other that of National Defence, the oft-repeated slogan at their meetings “death to the Arabs” will have to be imposed both on the Palestinian territories and on Israel itself. with the strengthening of segregation laws – “the Arab must be wise”, it is said – and the bantustanization of occupied Palestine. It is thus planned to give the settlements Israeli civil law, thus confirming their annexation. At the same time, any act, statement or publication in the press “questioning loyalty to Israel” should result in “deportation”, including if it involves “bad Jews”.

Internationally, there is a strong fear of an increasingly uncontrollable escalation of military confrontations against Iran and Lebanon, with the risk of provoking an open conflict, which Washington may not like.

In the face of these threats that are becoming clearer, when we know about the racist and fascist projects of Benyamin Netanyahu’s friends, the statement of Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, where he states: “I just called Benyamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election . the victory. We share the same desire to strengthen the already strong ties between Israel and France. is particularly disturbing and scandalous.

The PCF, first of all, strongly reaffirms its solidarity with the Israeli communists and their democratic allies, as well as with the Palestinian people.

We emphasize the urgency, even more urgent today, of continued action by the international community to establish a free and sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace alongside Israel, which has returned within its borders before the occupation June 1967, a Palestinian state, whose right to exist is immediately declared by France, as recommended by a resolution of the elected representatives of the Nation. Restoring and maintaining peace in the Middle East is at this price.

Michael Müller
member of the Palestine collective
member of the international relations commission of the PCF

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