Around the world, Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election as Israeli leader was greeted with a mixed reaction.
There was stony silence from the US, where President Barack Obama has a difficult relationship with the Likud leader, and where American Jews may now need to readjust their thinking on Israeli policy.
Historian Simon Schama was among those pondering the repercussions of the Israeli prime minister’s statement this week that he would not grant a Palestinian state, and that he would continue to expand Jewish settlements.
“There will now be immense soul-searching in [the] American Jewish community,” said Schama, “not because Bibi won but because of what he said.” The majority of American Jews did not want him to make his speech to the US Congress earlier this month, said Schama, and “his line on Palestine will deepen this rift”.
In European capitals those concerns echoed, with former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt agreeing that Netanyahu’s victory risked a “profound crisis on [the] Palestinian issue”. He added that it was now “difficult to see any credible political path forward”.
In Ramallah, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said his re-election was due to “a campaign based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people”.
But further east, where Israel’s diplomatic attention has now turned, Netanyahu’s re-election was greeted “warmly” by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who embraced the result with the words: “Congratulations to my friend Bibi.”