Published On: Wed, Mar 18th, 2015

Netanyahu wins, media ‘surprised’ and Iran calls all Israeli politicians ‘Zionist aggressors’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a victory in Israel’s election, overcoming a rash of media attacks and pessimistic predictions, by making a series of promises designed to shore up his Likud base and draw voters from other right-wing groups.

With 99.5 percent of votes counted on Wednesday, Likud had won 29-30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, comfortably defeating the Zionist Union opposition on 24 seats, Israel’s Central Election Committee and Israeli media said. A united list of Arab parties came in third.

Some polling showed the Zionist Union ahead, but Iran may have helped the Netanyahu campaign with their attack on all groups.

Benjamin Netanyahu  photo/ donkey hotey

Benjamin Netanyahu photo/ donkey hotey

“For us there is no difference between the Zionist regime’s political parties. They are all aggressors in nature,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marizeh Afkham told reporters at a weekly news conference in Tehran.

Netanyahu abandoned a commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state, pledging to go on building settlements.

David Axelrod, President Obama’s former senior adviser, said Tuesday evening on Twitter that Mr. Netanyahu’s last-minute stand against a Palestinian state might have helped ensure him another victory. “Tightness of exits in Israel suggests Bibi’s shameful 11th-hour demagoguery may have swayed enough votes to save him. But at what cost?” he wrote.

“I am sure that Netanyahu, with his broad historical perspective, if he is prime minister again, will be thinking long and hard about what legacy he will want to leave behind with regard to the demographic makeup of the country and its standing in the world,” said Gidi Grinstein, founder of the Reut Institute, an Israeli strategy group. “In the end I would not rule out his going back to the two-state solution,” he said, referring to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Tzachi Hanegbi, a Likud deputy foreign minister in the departing government, told reporters on Tuesday night that he expected the American administration to make an effort to renew the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. “We would be very delighted to renew the negotiations,” Mr. Hanegbi said, adding that it was up to the Palestinians. “It is to the benefit of both peoples,” he said.

The campaign was divisive, exposing the fault lines in Israeli society, between the religious and the secular, the left and the right.

Democrats in the US are still angry over the Congressional speech.

Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a relatively dismayed about Netanyahu’s efforts to ally himself with Republicans in America.

“As far as I’m concerned, Netanyahu burned his bridges with the American government and a broad swath of the American people,” Connolly said.

“It is to me, frankly, a really sordid approach to diplomacy and friendship and alliance. I hope that behavior is not rewarded today.”

Full transcript of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress here



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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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