In a last-ditch attempt to gain the support of far-right voters, Netanyahu had made a fateful promise: As long as he serves as prime minister of Israel there will be no independent Palestinian nation.
Perhaps even more troubling, Netanyahu had racialized the political process by warning Jews that Israeli Arabs were turning out “in droves” to cast ballots.
His strategy seems to have worked. Right-wing, ultra-nationalist voters propelled the Likud party to an overwhelming victory.
But some Palestinians see this bad news as not so bad after all. The open declaration that they no longer have a negotiating partner could strengthen their case for full statehood and recognition in the United Nations. Already, Palestinians have j oined UNESCO and the International Criminal Court, and they are studying the possibility of signing a host of international treaties, increasing the credibility of their bid for a nation of their own.
In addition, the fact that a solution will not be found through the standard political process may open the way for a "strong, peace-minded opposition of Jews and Arabs" to work together with their international allies more closely and effectively. Nonviolent tactics such as the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign are now in an even stronger position to challenge Israeli political and economic interests that benefit from maintaining the status quo. The Obama administration, already furious at Netanyahu's attempts to derail U.S. talks with Iran, might be persuaded to stop vetoing Palestinian efforts to engage the United Nations.
And for Quakers with their growing commitment to boycott and divestment, more creative action may now be worth exploring. As Gush Shalom says, "The struggle has just begun.