Netanyahu on Track for 5th Term in Office

Netanyahu on Track for 5th Term in Office

Netanyahu on Track for 5th Term in Office

The hope of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah leadership that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be defeated by Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White Party, was dashed and ended in disappointment.

With 97 percent of the votes counted, neither of the candidates' parties had captured a ruling majority, but Netanyahu was clearly in a strong position to form a coalition government with other right-wing factions that have backed him.

Netanyahu - a key ally of Trump - has promised to annex illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank is re-elected, further jeopardising hopes for a peace deal.

Netanyahu benefited from a string of campaign gifts given by Donald Trump.

Israel's attorney general has recommended charging Netanyahu with bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

"We are going to turn the Knesset into a battleground", Lapid said. As disruptive as the break-up of the party landscape and the large number of internal conflicts in Israeli society have been, one thing remains true: Israel is - with the possible exception of Tunisia - the only democracy in the region whose election results are not suspect.

The longtime Israeli leader had fought a tight, ugly race against centrist ex-military chief Benny Gantz, whose nascent Blue and White party emerged as a viable alternative to Netanyahu's decade in power.

"Despite OneVoice's previous political activism in the 2013 Israeli election, the Department failed to take any steps to guard against the risk that OneVoice could engage in political activities using State-funded grassroots campaign infrastructure after the grant period", the report found.

Pompeo repeatedly declined to weigh in on Netanyahu's election-eve vow to annex Jewish settlements built in the Israeli-occupied West Bank - a move that would seek to formalize Israeli control over parts of the supposedly future Palestinian state.

Speaking with reporters in Washington on Wednesday, Trump acknowledged that it might be a bit premature to declare Netanyahu's victory, but said he's hearing that he's won.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu said he had already started coalition talks with right-wing parties, despite the results of Tuesday's parliamentary elections not being officially revealed yet.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon weighs in on what it Benjamin Netanyahu's likely reelection means for the U.S.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, April 29, 2018.

The closely contested race was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Mr Netanyahu's character and record in the face of corruption allegations. His main rival also claimed victory, but Mr Netanyahu's right-wing bloc has secured more seats than the centre-left.

But with Mr Trump's moves on Jerusalem and the Golan, the Prime Minister may feel emboldened to complete annexation. Netanyahu faced further criticism on election day when members of his Likud party brought small cameras into polling stations in Arab areas.

Ahmed Majdalani, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians will seek the help of the global community to try to block any such plans.

"This is a clear beginning of Netanyahu's fifth term, but his fifth term might end up being his shortest one", said Reuven Hazan, a political scientist from Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

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