Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a surprise election victory, putting him on course for a fourth term in office. Netanyahu’s Likud Party is poised to control 29 or 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset. The Zionist Union opposition placed second with 24 seats. A united list of Arab parties came in third with 13 seats. Netanyahu closed out his campaign with a vow to oppose a Palestinian state, reneging on his nominal endorsement of a two-state solution in 2009. Netanyahu also vowed to expand the illegal West Bank settlements and issued a last-minute plea to supporters denouncing a high turnout of Arab voters. The Zionist Union, Netanyahu’s chief rival, also ran on a platform for Israel to keep the major Israeli settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank, the home of any future Palestinian state. Likud says Netanyahu intends to form a new government in the coming weeks. Talks are already underway with a number of right-wing parties. To discuss the election, we are joined by two guests: Jamal Zahalka, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset and chair of Balad party, which is part of the Joint List of Arab parties; and Amira Hass, correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz in the occupied Palestinian territories.
– Read more: Democracy Now