Published: Tue, April 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Aping House Muslims, Democratic Candidate Beto O'Rourke Calls Netanyahu Racist

Aping House Muslims, Democratic Candidate Beto O'Rourke Calls Netanyahu Racist

Netanyahu, who has been dogged byallegations of corruption and is up for reelection this week, vowed over the weekend to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if voters return him to power.

He added that "people realize that they have to make us the largest party, we are half a meter away from victory but we still need two more mandates".

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since 2014, when a US-brokered attempt to reach a deal collapsed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited President Trump last month.

Democrat presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke had harsh words for Israel's prime minister at a recent rally.

But this and other polls also projected a majority of the Knesset's 120 seats will go to the parties in Netanyahu's right-wing bloc, giving Netanyahu a slim but workable majority.

President Trump thrills his evangelical Christian base by supporting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's moves that make eventual peace with the Palestinians and hostile neighbors - albeit already a distant hope - even more hard, including the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and support for the annexation of the Golan Heights.

Netanyahu has promoted Jewish settlement expansion in his four terms as prime minister, but until now refrained from presenting a detailed vision for the West Bank, seen by the Palestinians as the heartland of a future state. There have been reports of irregularities and suspiciously unregistered votes by the parties.

No law prevents Netanyahu - who has strongly denied the accusations - from extending his 13 years in office while under indictment or on trial.

That followed his December 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the US embassy's move to the holy city last May.

That, O'Rourke charged, proves Netanyahu wants to end all prospects for peace.

His centrist Blue and White alliance - formed with two other former military chiefs and the former TV anchor-turned-politician Yair Lapid - was initially doing slightly better than Mr Netanyahu's Likud party in opinion polls, although the situation has since reversed.

In Gaza, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri urged Abbas's western-backed Palestinian Authority to halt its security cooperation with Israel in the occupied West Bank.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu's irresponsible statement to seek votes just before the Israeli general elections can not and will not change this fact", Cavusoglu tweeted. Polls indicate that he has the best chance to form a ruling coalition.

There's nothing to suggest O'Rourke is anti-Israel.

At their March 25 meeting, Mr Trump signed a proclamation officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory, a dramatic departure from decades of United States policy.

"Come on. Honestly", Netanyahu said, making the case as he has throughout the campaign that he is Israel's essential statesman.

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