No change in Israel

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The Israeli general election has resulted in Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party being invited to form a new government.

Likud, by Israel's standards, is on the centre-right of the political spectrum. But this is in a country where the entire political sphere is already skewed far to the right.

Tzipi Livni of the "centrist" Kadima Party, together with the Labour Party of Ehud Barack, look set to reject entering a coalition with Netanyahu, because, as Livni put it, "We were not elected to legitimise an extreme right government and we must be an alternative of hope and go to opposition." And these were the people who, as defence and foreign secretaries respectively, led the massacre of Gaza.

This makes the more likely coalition one made up of the extreme right of Israeli politics. It is likely to include Avigdor Lieberman, who campaigned to remove citizenship and voting rights from Arabs who do not sign a pledge of allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state. He has also called for the execution of any Arab Knesset member who has contact with Hamas. His election rallies were characterised by youths chanting "Death to Arabs!"

Not that this is too far from Netanyahu's own beliefs, which include an end to talks of an even limited two-state "solution" for Israel and Palestine and an expansion of illegal West Bank settlements.

The recent atrocities in Gaza have led to outrage around the world, with staunch allies of Israel forced to turn on it, lest they lose what little support they have from their own citizens. As Prince Turki Al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia put it, "Enough is enough, today we are all Palestinians and we seek martyrdom for God and for Palestine, following those who died in Gaza."

With such growing international hostility to Israeli policies, it remains to be seen whether the aggressive agenda of the incoming government will further isolate the occupier state.