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National Law in the Ballot Box
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
August 13, 2018

Many questioned whether Netanyahu prefers the dispute within the governmental coalition over the "National Law" bill to lead to early elections, rather than to find himself before the option of early elections to escape the consequences of the legalization of the law.

Although the prime minister has a great opportunity to win a new mandate, the results of the vote in the Knesset on the bill and the reactions on it after that, indicates that this law will be one of the main headlines of the upcoming election campaigns, whether from the angle of calling to drop or modify it, or to defend it as approved by the Knesset. Thus, this issue will be one of the basic rules for the formation of the coalition government after the elections.

But the most important question is: How will Netanyahu's situation be, on the eve of the elections in case that the disputes over the law rage and lead to the emergence of alignments between the voters against him and the approvers, under extortion?

Moshe Kahlon said that the party he heads "all of us" is reserving on the "National Law" even though its deputies voted in for it! With the exception of Arab MK Akram Hassoun. Although the Joint List responded to him and charged him with passing the law in the Knesset, this remark by him indicates the extent of the party's interactions as a result of his position on the law, especially since polls have shown that 40% of the party's voters oppose the law. So, in connection to the nature of the parties in the Zionist political scene, the ambition to win the elections is the “plant for producing positions”. The same is true for the opposition party, There is a Future, but in the opposite direction, as while its 11 deputies voted against the law, 48% of the party's public supported it. Thus, this situation opens up many possibilities.

It is therefore possible to say that the intensification of disagreements over the law and the reflection of this on the views of the electorate, will necessarily affect the status of the parties, especially the parties of the “center” mentioned and distributed to the coalition government and the opposition, on the grounds that the majority of the Likud, the Jewish House, and the Zionist Camp supported the positions of these parties in the law, although the support of the extreme right-wing parties' public for this law was overwhelming . Noting that the party There is a Future is very popular and the polls have given it 19 seats if the elections happen now.

What has been said about the views of the majority of parties' public on the National Law, does not mean that the upcoming Israeli elections will be a new public vote on the law, because Netanyahu and his government have sought and continue to devote the security concerns and existential dangers at the top of Israeli public opinion. However, the arguments about the law will have a big impact on the electorate.

So far, the Likud has guaranteed its control over its constituency (92% support the law) and the Jewish House is the same (97%), meaning that they have exceeded the task of "joining the ranks together", so as to pay their attention fully to the entitlements of the expected elections. The role of Netanyahu, who has mastered the art of maneuvering and making deals with the parties he wants to join the coalition after the elections, usually occurs in these circumstances. As he did in the context of lobbying for the National Law bill, Netanyahu will keep the bill of "recruitment" as a title that draws the attention of religious parties as part of promises to amend it in order to satisfy these parties.

The question is whether the elections are better for Netanyahu before or after the legalization of the law. There are two answers in the calculations of analysts who see that the effort and pressure he exerted to convince the coalition parties (especially the Haridim) to put the bill before the Knesset, confirms that he prefers this before the elections. This means that he was able to unify the position of the coalition parties, although three of the coalition deputies voted against or abstained, in addition to the absence of a fourth deputy.

But at the same time, they say that what Netanyahu does not see is what can happen on the front of the implications of the legitimization of the law, especially if there is a crack in the positions of some coalition parties towards the law, which opens the possibility of re-put to vote in the winter session of the Knesset.

In any case, Netanyahu will continue his political speech on the basis that he has accomplished, in the Knesset, what completes his "achievements" in settlement, house demolitions and the judaization of Jerusalem, backed by an American policy consistent with Israeli expansionism and with his vision of the future of the occupied Palestinian territories, and proud of the steps of normalization with a number of Arab officials in the framework of the regional solution offered by the Trump administration under the banner of the Deal of the Century. He also hopes to turn all of this into more seats in the Knesset, keeping him at the head of the next coalition government.

On the other hand, the Zionist opposition is fighting its election battle with Netanyahu on the basis of an exaggerating concern about the "Israeli democracy", warning of the isolation on Israel if Netanyahu continues to ignore European advice on the implications of the legalization of the National Law. The Zionist opposition here does not differ from Netanyahu, who glorifies this "democracy", as the opposition does exactly in its speech. As the two sides do not see a contradiction between the concern for democracy and adherence to its endorsement as a necessary condition for the Hebrew state and the oppression of the Palestinian people and depriving it of its national rights, including the 48 Palestinians who are threatened by the National Law to renew their catastrophe and complete its chapters through the judaization of the Negev and Galilee.

In our opinion, the disagreement between the Zionist parties, over the formula in which the law put forward, in the Knesset, does not negate the fact that these parties agree on its racist essence. And that Palestine is the "land of Israel" for these parties and that the interactions that emerge between them on the subject take the course of the electoral discourse. Also, the policies of racial discrimination against the Palestinians of 1948 have been actively practiced, by the Zionist parties that came to power in the state of occupation. These parties have systematically worked to deepen the shift towards extremism and racism within Israeli society. So, they have united their discourse towards dealing with the Palestinians of 1948 and considered them as fifth column, when they announced their solidarity with their brothers during the Independence Intifada in the autumn of 2000, and the Israeli police fired at the participants in a solidarity march, as part of the October Intifada, and 13 Palestinians were martyred.

The 48 Palestinians face new challenges that require them to prepare for their entitlements by intensifying their struggle against the policies of discrimination and racism, and through the unity of the position between the forces and parties that represent them within the framework of the Joint List.

Notes:Mohammad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Ibrahim Motlaq

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