Israeli PM Netanyahu Appears Headed for Fifth Term after Close Race

Head of the Blue White party Benny Gantz and his top allies Moshe Ya'alon Gabi Ashkenazi and Yair Lapid greet their party supporters following the release of election exit polls at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv

"We will make Likud's life hell in the opposition", Yair Lapid, number two in the centrist party led by former military chief Benny Gantz, said in a televised statement, referring to Netanyahu's right-wing party. Netanyahu's Likud party and Gantz's Blue and White alliance each appear to have secured 35 seats.

While this strategy risks alienating moderate right-wing voters, Netanyahu can rely on the electoral system - no party has won a majority of seats since Israel's first election in 1949, so coalition-building will be essential.

No single Israeli party has ever won an absolute majority in any parliamentary elections. The third exit poll predicted this bloc would be tied with center-left parties that Gantz would have to enlist to form a coalition government.

Netanyahu celebrated his projected win Tuesday night with scores of supporters who were waving President Trump flags, aware of their longtime friendship. Gantz said he favors a "globally backed peace agreement" that envisions Israel maintaining its hold on the large settlement blocs in the West Bank and security control over the territory.

"The biggest issue is Netanyahu himself: whether Israelis are exhausted of Netanyahu, whether they're put off by the stench of corruption that surrounds him, whether they want a change, or whether they prefer to stick with a safe pair of hands and a statesman that obviously enjoys good relations with many world leaders", Northeastern University Professor Dov Waxman told RT. "There's actually been very little debate - a striking lack of debate - over Israeli policies".

An indictment decision would follow a review hearing where Netanyahu can be expected to argue he should be spared in the national interest. "I will begin forming a right-wing government with our natural partner this very night".

"Two, they certainly can't hide the sunlight of hope that we have brought to the people of Israel and Israeli society".

On social media, Netanyahu pounded out alerts which included unproved accusations that Iran could blackmail Gantz after hacking his phone, although Tehran denied doing so.

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The leadership of the Palestinian Authority is greatly disappointed by the results of the April 9, 2019, general elections in Israel.

Two weeks before the election, Mr Trump signed a proclamation with Mr Netanyahu at his side at the White House, recognising Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. If it includes Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, Netanyahu's probable far-right coalition allies will likely object.

"All that we hope is there will be a just way, a correct way to reach peace", he said.

"Israelis have voted to preserve the status quo".

Likud, which gained five more seats compared with the 2015 elections, needs 61 seats to form the government.

Buttu said that for as long as Netanyahu has been prime minister, the Palestinian Authority has been urging the global community to intervene during the bombing of Gaza, construction of settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes, passage of the nation-state law and regarding the annexation of the West Bank.

President Donald Trump is congratulating Benjamin Netanyahu as he appears to be headed for a fifth term as prime minister of Israel. "They wanted a different way and we outlined it".

An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the outcome of Israel's election raises Palestinian fears about an Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank. If he does indeed hang on it will be in part because of his willingness to boost racist, far-right politicians.

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