For Netanyahu’s main challenger, Isaac Herzog, Palestinians hardly existed. The occupation was a non-issue for him and for most Israeli political rivals for that matter. His foreign policy programme was either identical to Netanyahu’s or was largely based on deferring foreign policy issues to a later date. The soft-speaking Herzog had no qualms about keeping the illegal Jewish settlements intact – which stands at the crux of Israeli military occupation of Palestine.
“No matter who emerges as the prime minister following the election and the inevitable weeks of haggling and horse-trading that go into forming a coalition,” wrote Michael J Koplow, “Israel’s foreign policy on the big issues will be marked by consistency rather than transformation.”
Although Netanyahu vowed to oppose a future Palestinian state – raising concerns among his Western allies – Herzog, too, practically opposed a contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state because no such state could possibly co-exist with colonial settlements and military occupation.
However, the US administration and media pundits didn’t seem to be bothered by Herzog as they were by Netanyahu’s grandstanding over Arab voters being bussed in droves or his intentions to block a Palestinian state. If the prospective foreign policy outcome of both leaders would have been the same, why didn’t the Obama administration object as strongly to Herzog’s political programme as to Netanyahu’s racist rants?
– Read more: Netanyahu the Mythbuster: ‘Special Relationship’ No More – Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Eye