In his last-minute jerk to the right to secure his position as Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state. In so doing, he attracted voters from the smaller conservative and religious parties that he will need to form a coalition government.
But what now?
Netanyahu is likely to face a choice between reversing course and engaging in negotiations with the Palestinians in the occupied territories (and thereby destabilizing his government) or refusing to do so at the cost of increasing Israel’s isolation in the world; isolation that, if combined with increasing European Union sanctions, would drastically affect Israel’s economy. This scenario would only exacerbate the looming political fight over Israel’s budget.
Moreover, the tension between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu is only increased by Netanyahu abandoning the two-state solution. The US consistently has thwarted United Nations efforts to force Israel back to its borders before the 1967 Six-Day War. What will be the US position now that the Israeli leader has ruled out a political solution for the Palestinians that Israel occupies? Can the US accept de facto apartheid? We could not in South Africa.
President Obama has often said that: "Elections have consequences."
Given its problems, expect Israel to face new elections in the not-too-distant future.