Here’s a round-up of Al Jazeera’s Middle East coverage this week.
(Al Jazeera) – Netanyahu back as Israeli PM, Saudi investment in Twitter, and police violence in Iran. Here’s your round-up, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Al Jazeera Digital’s Middle East and North Africa editor.
Even with essentially all his political rivals united against him, Benjamin Netanyahu just couldn’t be kept down. The right-wing politician had spent 12 years as the Israeli prime minister, until March 2021, when he was forced out of office. Over the course of his career, Netanyahu had made so many enemies, across the entire political spectrum, that right-wing and left-wing Israelis, and even Palestinians, all united in a coalition against him. He’s also been indicted for fraud, and faces prison.
No matter, it seems. The anti-Netanyahu coalition collapsed, and for the fifth time in less than four years, Israelis voted. And with the count almost complete (by the time you read this, it could well be done), the results suggest that Netanyahu will be back as prime minister.
How’d he do it? Netanyahu went and made new friends – namely Itamar Ben-Gvir, who once proudly displayed in his office a picture of an Israeli who massacred 29 Palestinians, and Bezalel Smotrich, who has said that the founders of Israel didn’t “finish the job” when they failed to get rid of all the Palestinians in 1948. It’s a glaringly stark sign of Israel’s plunge into the far right that Ben-Gvir and Smotrich’s alliance, the Religious Zionism Party, has done so well in the elections, and in the process has helped prop up Netanyahu.
For many Palestinians, it’s just more of the same. Under the supposedly centrist, current and apparently outgoing prime minister, Yair Lapid, near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank have killed dozens of Palestinians since the start of the year. Meanwhile, as Zena Al Tahhan reports, many Palestinians living in Israel say they haven’t seen an improvement in their situation, despite the first-time presence of a Palestinian party in Israel’s now-outgoing coalition government.