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Israelis head to polls, Netanyahu projected to win

Published time: January 22, 2013 13:49
Edited time: January 22, 2013 18:52

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara stand with their sons Yair (C) and Avner during voting at a polling station in Jerusalem, on January 22, 2013, as Israel residents started to vote in the 19th Israeli general election (AFP Photo / Uriel Sinai)

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Hundreds of thousands of Israeli people are heading to polling stations to cast their vote as the victory of the incumbent PM Benjamin Netanyahu looms. Many however refuse to vote, saying the results are predetermined and will not change much.

­Although the official results of the Tuesday`s parliamentary vote are only due Wednesday, Netanyahu and his Likud party have been widely projected to win the vote.

The opinion polls show that Likud-Beitenu is likely to receive 32 seats in 120-seat Knesset, bringing it necessary majority to form the next government.

If this is the case and Netanyahu secures the third term, the Israeli-Palestinian peace will be out of reach for another four years.

In 2010 Ramallah withdrew from the peace talks with Israel, saying negotiations would only be possible after Tel Aviv halts all construction projects in the disputed areas.

But Netanyahu does not seem to be willing to do so. The PM has recently vowed to build thousands of housing units in the disputed territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israeli settlement policy has reflected criticism from the Obama administration apparently causing the breach in the relations between previously strong allies Israel and the US.

Iran will also remain on top of Israel’s agenda in case of a Netanyahu win. The Israeli Prime Minister has vowed he will not let Tehran to complete its nuclear bomb program, which Netanyahu said is due to be finalized this summer.

But it appears Israelis are no longer buying the Iranian threat rhetoric, with almost half of the electorate saying the country is facing more important social and economic problems, according to a poll in Haaretz. Only 10 per cent of the people asked mentioned Iran among their concerns.

Public grumble over elections

Over 5 million Israelis are eligible for Tuesday`s vote, but many will abstain from it as they are not satisfied with the candidates and think that Netanyahu`s victory is predetermined.

“I am not going to vote. I see who are the candidates and there is no-one standing who represents me or who can change the general mood in the country,” 28-year-old Moshe Dadoosh told RT`s Paula Slier.

There are also some public doubts as to whether the new parliament can effectively deal with the country`s key issues.

Netanyahu`s second term has been marred by the halt of the peace process, a slowing economy and growing diplomatic isolation as the country continues its aggressive expansion against Palestinian autonomy.

“Many Israelis don`t believe that the present politicians and parties have any really new solutions to the big problems facing Israel, be it security, be it peace, or economic issues,” David Newman, Professor from Ben-Gurion University told RT.

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