The Israeli electorate had a choice to make. By re-electing a leader who publicly reneged on his commitments to peace and a two-state solution, they voted against peace.
What remains now is to see how the Palestinians and the world will react to the end of the charade that was called a peace process.
Palestinians had lost hope in the peace process and have been telling everyone who was willing to listen that the Israeli leaders were merely giving lip service to it as their bulldozers were gobbling up Palestinian land.
The world kept on believing this until the Israeli public forced its leader to state his case in Hebrew to his own people.
Now the world knows that Israel is not a democracy to all its citizens (see Netanyahu’s comments about Arab citizens) and that its leaders never wanted to live up to their commitment to a Palestinian state, it must react.
The vote by the Israeli public has sealed the fate of Mahmoud Abbas who had placed his bets on the peace process and the support of the international community.
The 79-year-old will certainly give way to a new generation of Palestinian leaders during the upcoming seventh congress of Fateh. But in the meantime, he has been given the mandate to exert efforts to ostracize Israel internationally while suspending security cooperation.
Praise is needed, not criticism
The U.N.’s non-member state of Palestine’s efforts to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) must now be seen as a positive non-violent act that is much kinder to Israel than what would be resistance to an occupying power.
Instead of criticizing Palestine, the U.S. and other Western countries must praise Abbas’ action as a moderate peaceful alternative to various offers of resistance.
Abbas’ efforts to go to the ICC have been recently approved by the Palestinian Central Council, which also approved the need to suspend security cooperation with Israel.
Palestinians have for years made life easy to their occupiers by providing intelligence and security cooperation to thwart any efforts to resist the illegal occupation of their territories and the colonial settlement of their lands.
Palestinian and world will now watch the post-election Israeli relations with Washington and the rest of the international community.
Will the U.S. continue to defend Israel in the Security Council after Benjamin Netanyahu renounced the two-state solution without presenting a credible alternative?
The Obama administration is still reeling from Netanyahu’s efforts to sabotage a possible deal with Iran over the latter’s nuclear plans.
Now, Netanyahu has renounced his commitments to recognize a Palestinian state (albeit with conditions) without offering any alternative.
Presumptive prime minister
As veteran anchorwoman Christiane Amanpour said on CNN Tuesday, without support for a Palestinian state, the Israeli leader is offering no alternative except for an apartheid-like situation where 4 million Palestinians under Israeli military control have no political rights.
The shift to the right by Israel’s presumptive prime minister has relieved Palestinians of any worry about moving seriously in the direction of internationalizing the conflict.
Belief that the conflict can be resolved if both parties just sit down and talk was based on the assumption that Israel is a democratic state for all its citizens and thus cannot accept to politically disenfranchise another people, and that the state of Israel accepts to replace the occupation with an independent Palestinian state.
Both these assumptions have been wiped by Netanyahu and, therefore, Palestinians are no longer bound by the need to continue to pretend that the conflict can be solved simply through direct Palestinian-Israeli engagement.
The role and the responsibility of the international community to resolve a conflict that all agree has poisoned the air in the Middle East is now of great importance.
It is no longer acceptable that international instruments such as the U.N. Security Council and the ICC are in favor of Israel. No one country should be allowed to be above international law.
Israel should now lose the long-lasting support of world powers, which protected it from international justice.
This article was first published in the Jordan Times on March 18, 2015.
Daoud Kuttab, an award winning Palestinian journalist who resides in Jerusalem and Amman. Mr. Kuttab is the director general of Community Media Network a media NGO that runs a radio station in Amman (al balad radio 92.4fm) a newsweb site ammannet.net and a TV production operation in Palestine Penmedia (penmedia.ps) which is producing the Palestinian version of Sesame Street. You can read his blogs on DaoudKuttab.com and find him on Twitter @DaoudKuttab.