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Date posted: January 23, 2013
By Mayse Jarbawi for MIFTAH

ďWhy is everyone making a big deal out of the [Israeli] elections? As if it matters,Ē howled Rami, an Economics major student at Al-Quds University. ďThey publicize the elections, make senseless advertisements and have worthless debates without ever mentioning the occupation. Simply a waste of more US dollars just to feed their vacant desire to prove they are democratic. It doesnít matter who wins, the plague lies within the entire [Israeli] system.Ē A very common analysis, I thought. What is a 19-year old Palestinian supposed to think anyway? Heís been fed with hopeless consciousness his entire life, simply because he was born Palestinian.

Being a student at Al -Quds University is enough physiological trauma for any person in the world. The campus is one the prettiest, well-taken care of spots in Palestine, lined with healthy trees and covered with beds of colorful, vibrant flowers. But the scene is overshadowed by a monstrous, cold concrete segregation wall. Itís impossible to ignore and wears away at oneís very soul. It is not similar, but identical, to being in a large prison. All inmates are sentenced to slow suffocation. To exacerbate the situation, students need to pass a military checkpoint in order to reach the university. The road from Ramallah to Abu Dis is blotted with several immense Israeli settlements that look like pictures out of landscaping magazines. They look as permanent as any other city or neighborhood in the world. The fact is, no matter who [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu chooses as coalition partners for the next Israeli government, Israelís main goal is to expand and slowly eradicate what is left of Palestine.

I looked around to the other two students sitting next to Rami, assuming they agreed, but within a few seconds learnt I was wrong when one of them immediately responded: ďNo! It does matter who wins. Donít you get it? Israel is losing momentum and itís happening at a mad speed! The Israelis themselves want Netanyahu out. Why would they if they knew it didnít matter? The US is against them, Europe is against them, and the Arabs are finally taking actions to our benefit. Even the Labor Party said they donít want to work alongside Netanyahu. His only tool is his military, and even the army is losing. Itís slow, but itís happening.Ē

I had to agree to some extent with this last opinion. It is a given that Israel-US relations have been suffering a precipitate decline, and it is obvious that Israel is the bigger loser. Although the US does need Israel as an ally in the Middle East region, Israel needs the US much more. Israelís survival is at risk without the United Statesí full support, and Netanyahu has been choosing to ignore that lately;

ďEveryone understands only Israelis will determine who faithfully represents Israelís vital interestsĒ he recently said.

However, despite which way US foreign policy goes vis-ŗ-vis Israel, the Israeli public is finding it more convenient to criticize their own Prime Minister. Netanyahuís insistence on expanding the settlements caused many countries to boycott settlement products, and some European countries to even call upon their ambassadors in Israel to openly condemn Israelís actions. Although the UN General Assemblyís vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member state wonít cause tangible changes on the ground, it is definitely a wake-up call to Israel and has generated considerable fear in them.

Netanyahu did worsen Israelís position in the international realm, and it is evident that he is going to play a vital role in the upcoming years. However, Israelis are more aware of his actions, and so is the international community. Hence, the considerably lower number of chairs won by his Likud/Beitenu alliance in yesterdayís elections. Moreover, it has become the responsibility of the international community to change its negative view on Palestine, stop the blank check it has always extended to Israel, and finally take real steps to implementing change. If it is left solely to Israel to depict the future of its country then there will eventually be no Palestine. The apartheid wall that is cutting Abu Dis off of Jerusalem will eventually swallow up the rest of Palestineís land, pushing the Palestinians right off of it. Colonialism is going to leave students such as Rami without a country or future to work for or look forward to.

The truth is, the Israeli elections and Netanyahuís narrow win will impact the Palestinians whether they want them to or not. However, it is time the world stops looking to Israel to agree to a just solution to the conflict because, as the election results showed, Israel is just not interested. It is finally time that the international community put equity into effect.

Mayse Jarbawi is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at mid@miftah.org.

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