As The Daily Wire has reported, the right-of-center Israeli Likud Party’s Benjamin Netanyahu was recently re-elected by the Israeli electorate and will serve a record-breaking fifth term as the Jewish state’s prime minister. Interestingly, The Daily Wire noted two weeks ago how even Likud’s main electoral opposition campaigned in similar fashion to Likud:
It is noteworthy that “Blue and White,” despite being the main electoral alternative to firmly right-of-center Likud, is best described as a centrist/mildly right-of-center political party. Labor, the once-mighty left-of-center Israeli party that had a near-unanimous stranglehold on Israeli politics for two to three decades following the country’s 1948 founding, has collapsed into utter irrelevance. As the reality of the failures of the Labor-induced Oslo Accords becomes ever clearer, Israelis have come to cherish above all else one political issue: Their own existential survival.
The primary reason for Netanyahu’s re-election, argued the always-incisive Evelyn Gordon last month, is that Netanyahu properly learned the lessons of the Israeli national catastrophe that was the Second Intifada-inducing Oslo Accords and forever foreswore any future unilateral land concessions:
In the 17 years preceding Netanyahu’s 2009 victory, Israelis thrice elected former generals who campaigned against diplomatic concessions, which they promptly turned around and implemented once in office. Yitzhak Rabin promised no negotiations with the PLO in 1992, then signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. Ehud Barak promised not to divide Jerusalem in 1999, then offered the Palestinians half the city at the Camp David summit in 2000. Ariel Sharon campaigned against a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2003, then implemented one in 2005.
These U-turns reflect a fundamental fact of Israeli life: All prime ministers are under massive, continuous international pressure to make concessions to the Palestinians. Premiers with leftist coalition partners—which Rabin, Barak and Sharon all had, and Gantz almost certainly would as well—are also under pressure from their own coalitions to make such concessions. And most people simply can’t withstand such immense pressure.
But Netanyahu has proven for 10 years now that he can. Thus anyone fearful of further territorial concessions has good reason to stick with him rather than gambling on Gantz.
Similarly, as Yoram Hazony argues, “The 1993 Oslo accords destroyed the left in the eyes of the Israeli public.”
But in the lead-up to Israel’s recent election, Netanyahu did not merely foreswear unilateral land concessions. On the contrary, he vowed to move to apply Israeli law to Jewish “settlements” in the portions of Judea and Samaria that Oslo refers to as “Area C” (which forms the majority of the land of Judea and Samaria, and where Israeli Jews outnumber Palestinian-Arabs). Netanyahu has historically bluffed on such annexation measures, but perhaps he means business this time around.
In a letter sent to the White House last week, leading pro-Israel leaders urged President Trump to support Netanyahu’s determination of Israel’s own sovereignty with respect to the Palestinian-Arabs. According to the Coalition for Jewish Values, which helped organize the letter, the missive “urg[es Trump] to permit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a free hand to extend Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.” The letter came in response to a similar letter, sent by a group of politically and religiously liberal Jewish organizations, who called upon the president to oppose any prospective partial annexation from Netanyahu.