Washington, DC – Israel’s general election results are
a disappointment for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans. They will undoubtedly make our objective even harder to
Pre-election polls and the overall atmosphere in Israel preceding the elections provided us with hope for a government that would embrace the policies and values that we support. It now seems like Israel’s next government will provide us with more of the same, if not worse.
Moments like this are not new to us. Yes, they disappoint us, but we do not succumb to the disappointment. We know that our fight to secure peace for Israel and its neighbors is a long-term fight. We care too deeply about Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish state to cede the struggle over Israel’s future character to the bullies and the bigots, the racists and the ultra-nationalists. We know that the only way for Israel to be loyal to the vision of its founders, to be both a secure, morally sound Jewish state and a democracy, is to end the occupation and reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians and the Arab world. Together with our Israeli sister organization, Peace Now, we will therefore redouble our efforts to advance this objective, serving as a bulwark against the rejectionists and the zealots, true to our core values.
We have our work cut out for us.
Israel’s next government, a Netanyahu-led government, despite bombastic campaign sloganeering of its future components, will have to face the same political and security challenges as the outgoing government did, which are likely to intensify. Whether it is a deepening rift with the US administration, international isolation, or the untenable occupation of the Palestinians – these problems are not going away, and are only going to intensify, given the policies that one should expect from a right-wing government.
Israel’s next government is not likely to pursue peace-oriented diplomacy with the Palestinians. It is likely to further advance West Bank settlement construction, creating facts on the ground that will hinder a two-state solution. It is likely to further drive the fallacious message that peace with the Palestinians is impossible, irrelevant, and even undesirable.
Israel’s Peace Now movement and its US sister organization, Americans for Peace Now, have for more than three decades been at the very forefront of demonstrating why these rejectionists are wrong. We now need to redouble our efforts. We will.