It was not. Annexation was not much of a theme. It was, in fact, a given, like sauce at a fast-food restaurant.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz had promised to take more land from the Palestinians, each buoyed by Donald Trump’s amazingly brilliant peace-plan-to-end-all-peace-plans, which grants Israel a green light to take, take, take.
Clearly, Israelis are generally happy to steal large swathes of territory captured in war in contravention of international law, while continuing to rule the Palestinians of the occupied territories for the indefinite future without their consent.
Indeed, relations with the Palestinians of the occupied territories barely featured, certainly not in any positive way. And the demise of Israel’s so-called peace camp is all but complete with a coalition including Labor and Meretz set to secure just seven seats.
If not annexation, the election could have been about integrity in politics. But since enough Israelis have voted to return a prime minister who is facing a court case on corruption charges, that too seems unlikely.
If anything, this vote was an election to end elections, a get-Brexit-done type vote.
It just failed. Netanyahu may form a minority government – he will certainly be asked to try. He may beat corruption charges in court. Odds are, however, that a fourth general election will be necessary at the first serious hurdle any minority government faces.
Netanyahu may yet prove himself the Houdini of Israeli politics
The Israeli prime minister has worn down voters by refusing to go, while his rival Benny Gantz has no visible path to power
Notes on a night of terror in Palestine
It is two a.m. during the night from Sunday to Monday in Ramallah, provisional capital of Palestine. I am awakened by the sounds of fighting and quarrelling. Strange. For 12 nights I slept in this elegant neighbourhood hotel and never heard noises at night. There are few guests, and no one has ever arrived drunk, speaking loudly. I sit on the bed, facing the door and with my back to the window.
The noises grow louder, with sounds of objects broken, screams. I think: It's them! A loud bang confirms it. The door is broken down and four Israeli army soldiers enter the room screaming and with machine guns and rifles pointed at me. I raise my hands, close my eyes and remain still for endless seconds. They scream words in a language unintelligible to me, with the tip of their rifle touching my chest. I think: They will kill me! But I don't hear any shooting.