NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — With 12 years of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coming to a close and the rise of a new coalition of political groups across the spectrum, local Israelis and Palestinians are holding their breath.
“I don’t think it will survive,” said Shai Abisch, a member of the Israeli community. “The way the elections are in Israel, it’s a Knesset with 140 seats. So if you have one party, one majority, the government falls down.”
“It’s sort of like the same coin, just two different sides,” Deana Agil, a first generation Palestinian American posited. “The face has changed. I wonder if it was what happened recently with the P.R. disaster But it’s hard to see what’s happening to be optimistic.”
With Netanyahu ousted, some experts, like international studies professor Dan Masters, hope the change could make way for peace talks between Palestinian and Israelis.
According to Masters, “I would say there’s probably a stronger possibility. I don’t know what that’s going to look like. I would say at least there’s going to be a chance for talks. Who knows about progress, but at least talking.”
The new prime minister, Naftali Bennett will step down in two years, allowing someone else within the coalition to lead the remaining two.
Abisch wants peace with the Arab community in Israel and with Palestinians, but worries this new government could become extremist.
“I’m not sure that the current government has different ideas than the previous,” said Abisch. “Prime Minister Bennett, I think, was originally more right leaning that Netanyahu.”
In the past, Bennett has spoken out against a Palestinian state, though throughout the election, the now prime minister said he would not annex more land in the West Bank (a controversial land holding occupied by both Palestinians and Israelis).
Local Palestinian, Musa Agil worries Bennett’s past could lead to a worse Palestinian future.
“There are many Jewish groups in this country that support the Palestinians and way a peaceful solution. So we are not saying Jewish people, we are saying the Zionist mentality. Basically, this man (Bennett) believes this land is his, and it is his God-given right to do whatever he wants with this land and Palestinians.”
Locals agree change is good, but the future is uncertain.