GAZA CITY: Palestinians were on Wednesday resigned to more of the same in the Gaza Strip following the results of Israel’s third parliamentary election within the space of a year.
With further deadlock leaving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggling to form a government and the prospect of a possible fourth ballot in the pipeline, Palestinian factions in Gaza expected to see little if any change to the status quo.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: “We are not counting on any variables within Israeli society, as they are all the product of an occupation Zionist project aimed at stabilizing the pillars of the Zionist entity at the expense of the Palestinian right.”
Islamic Jihad official Daoud Shehab said: “The election results will not change anything from reality, as there is ongoing occupation and aggression, and it is natural and self-evident that we face this occupation and its aggression.”
Spokesman for the Fatah movement, Hussein Hamayel, said: “These results are clear evidence that whoever rules Israel and directs public opinion is the behavior of settlers based on repression, killing and attacks on the Palestinian people.”
For two years the Gaza Strip witnessed protests demanding Israel lift its 14-year blockade. Hamas, with Egyptian mediation, agreed to de-escalate tensions along the borders a year ago, in exchange for the provision of facilities at crossings, an increased fishing zone, and an allowance for some materials that Israel considered of dual use.
The deal was divided into two phases, the first before the Israeli elections and the second after the formation of a government. Both sides could not proceed to the second phase as the government has yet to be formed in Israel.
Ibrahim Zaid, 29, did not see much difference between Israeli candidates and thinks that the right-wing domination of the Israeli government will have a negative impact on Gaza.
“All the successive Israeli governments are trying to keep the Gaza Strip away from the scene, trying to facilitate the entry of aid, but not trying to make a real change. I do not think that there will be a complete lifting of the blockade,” he told Arab News.
Columnist, Fathi Sabbah, told Arab News: “The Israeli government, whether Netanyahu or an exchange between Netanyahu and (opposition leader Benny) Gantz, will not offer anything to the Gaza Strip except for some simple facilities that will not affect the Gaza Strip significantly or make any fundamental change.
“The reality in the Gaza Strip will remain as it is, neither complete calm nor extensive war, as long as Netanyahu or Gantz are unable to form a government, and the Palestinian factions don’t have many options but will accept additional Israeli facilities.”
Nawal Siksik, 24, said: “I live in the Gaza Strip and have not participated in any elections. The Israelis voted in three elections within one year.
“We need elections (in Palestine) in order for someone to represent us democratically, and to restore unity between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In this way we can confront any Israeli government, whether from the right or otherwise.”
The last Palestinian elections were held in 2006, in which Hamas won a majority of seats. Since then, no elections have taken place despite promises made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas more than once as a result of the political division.