For Palestinians, Israels election offers bleak horizon

Peace talks broke down in April 2014, after nine months of negotiations led by the United States, with the long-standing goal of a two-state solution – Israel and an independent Palestine side-by-side – no closer. “The two-state solution is no longer on the table,” said Gaza-based political analyst Talal Okal. “Israel is moving towards isolating and confiscating all of Jerusalem,” he said, while Gaza, a 40-km-long strip of land on the Mediterranean coast, remains blockaded by Israel and Egypt, the movement of people and goods closely monitored. In the West Bank, which Israel has occupied along with East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war, Okal said the military was tightening its grip, citing recent exercises in which 13,000 Israeli troops were mobilized. With economic and social issues dominant ahead of the March 17 vote, the chances of Netanyahu or his chief rival, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, shifting focus to peace and the Palestinians is slim.


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