- Title: Israel imposes closure on West Bank as Israelis vote
- Date: 9th April 2019
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (APRIL 9, 2019) (REUTERS) EXTERIORS OF ISRAELI CHECKPOINT BETWEEN JERUSALEM AND THE WEST BANK SIGN READING IN (Arabic, English, Hebrew): 'WELCOME TO RACHEL'S TOMB CROSSING' VARIOUS OF EMPTY CHECKPOINT VEHICLES CROSSING CHECKPOINT ISRAELI SECURITY CHECKING VEHICLE CROSSING TO JERUSALEM JERUSALEM (APRIL 8, 2019) (REUTERS) SENIOR PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL NABIL SHAATH TALKING TO REPORTER LOGO WITH PALESTINIAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL NABIL SHAATH, SAYING: "I mean there were times when elections were important because there was really more than one camp in Israel there was a left and there was a right and the left camp which is represented by the Labor party and then by Meretz and the Labor party had some real difference in the policies about how to get to real peace process, I mean. But now what are you talking about it's the right, and then further to the right and then the extreme right and then further to the extreme right. There is really no Left left in Israel." VARIOUS OF SHAATH
- Embargoed: 23rd April 2019 06:34
- Keywords: Israel Palestinians Nabil Shaath election closure
- Location: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK / JERUSALEM
- City: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK / JERUSALEM
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001A9QNNEV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Senior Palestinian official voiced hopelessness as Israelis voted in an election on Tuesday (April 9) that could hand conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a record fifth term or see him dethroned by an ex-general who has pledged clean government and social cohesion.
"There were times when elections were important because there was really more than one camp in Israel there was a left and there was a right...But now...there is really no Left left in Israel," senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath told Reuters.
Israel imposed a closure over the West Bank preventing Palestinians from crossing the checkpoints as Israelis vote.
Dubbed "King Bibi" by both Time and Economist magazines, Netanyahu has rallied a rightist camp hardened against the Palestinians and played up Israeli foreign policy boons that are the fruit of his ties with the Trump administration.
But the 69-year-old Likud party leader's hope of overtaking Israel's founding father, David Ben-Gurion, as longest-serving premier in July has been dented by a looming graft indictment. He denies any wrongdoing.
Critics warn of "Bibi fatigue" and argue that the parliamentary election should bring fresh faces to high office.
Stalking Netanyahu in the opinion polls has been Benny Gantz, a former chief of the armed forces and centrist political novice. Buttressed by two other former generals at the top of his Blue and White party, Gantz, 59, has sought to push back against Netanyahu's self-styled image as unrivaled in national security.
(Production: Mohammad Abu Ganeyeh, Leon Malherbe, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh)
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