King Bibi reigns supreme

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retains his title in 2015 elections

Mack Foley, Opinions Editor

On March 17, Israel voted in an election that would decide who their Prime Minister would be for the next five years. Despite being an underdog in most exit polls, current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, quickly took a commanding lead during vote counts and was essentially confirmed to have retained his position on March 18. Now on course to be the longest serving Israeli Prime Minister and now with fierce opposition within his own country, it’s time to take a look at him. Is he really the man for Israel?

Conflicts in the Middle East aren’t exactly a rarity these days, and Israel has been a part of its fair share of wars during its short history. Every single country around Israel hates Israel and Israel hates them back. From the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to the conflict with Hamas over this past summer, Israel has proven that it has no intention of backing down to threats and that it wasn’t afraid to go to extremes to protect its citizens. Jewish and Islamic people have been fighting for thousands of years, and even though peace is little more than a pipe dream regardless of who is leading Israel, Netanyahu certainly isn’t taking things in the right direction.

Over the summer of 2014, a vicious conflict broke out between Israel and the government of the neighboring Gaza Strip, Hamas. Hamas and Israel exchanged rockets and bombardments over the course of weeks before Israel ultimately launched an invasion of the Gaza Strip. By the time it was all said and done, thousands of citizens in Gaza laid dead, and no government had gained anything out of it, as both sides said that they had won. The only thing that can confidently be said is that the citizens of both countries (though, mainly Gaza) lost.

In a late-race interview with Israeli news site, NRG, Netanyahu guaranteed that there would not be an establishment of a free Palestinian state during his time in power. This is the man that won in what appears to be a landslide, the guy who all but came out and promised oppression to those in a neighboring country. It’s not to say that the Palestinians are harmless victims in this equation, most countries have committed their share of atrocities throughout history, but the situation that Israel has put itself and the West Bank and Gaza Strip in is beneficial to absolutely no one. Israel isn’t getting anything out of controlling Palestine, but Netanyahu, as well as many of his supporters and a decent percentage of the Israeli population, thinks continued control over the two is vital to maintain order in the region.

Kind of flawed logic there. Palestine is fighting Israel because of its rapid expansion and land acquisition, and Netanyahu wants to build thousands of new houses to keep from having to give any land back or give West Bank/Gaza Strip independence. A tough, war ready attitude is something that Israel has always known, but it’s not something that it will always have to know. Israel is here to stay, and despite every one of its neighbors wanting it gone, it’s risen to power in the area and a controls many around it.

So nothing in the way of even minor conflict resolution is going to happen in Israel for at least another five years. Netanyahu wants war, and he’ll more than likely see a few more during his time in power, but maybe, just maybe, the next guy that comes along won’t take such radical stances. Maybe the next guy will want to strive to make peace and concessions in the Middle East. And if everyone is against them, so what? At least they’ll be trying to do the right thing. No one is right now.