Polls suggest Lapid popularity has risen during conflict

Yesh Atid forecast to rise from 17 to 21 seats


As Hamas in Gaza holds fire, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is warning that violence could quickly erupt again.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed that Israel’s conduct in Jerusalem could spark escalation and renewed tensions. 

He referred specifically to policy in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where Palestinian families are expected to be evicted, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, where there have recently been violent exchanges between Palestinians and Israeli police, with both sides blaming each other. 

Mr Abu Rudeineh urged America to “promptly intervene to prevent the Israeli policy of provocations and escalation, which the Israeli government is trying to draw the region back to,” according to official Palestinian Authority media. 

In Israel, where there was widespread speculation that the latest conflict would be a game-changer for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, boosting his standing as a solid security figure and ensuring that he will finally score a resounding election victory next time around, surprising polls were released this morning. 

Surveys by two TV channels indicate that despite Mr Netanyahu’s claims that Hamas has been dealt a bitter blow, his Likud party would gain no extra seats if elections were called now — though his opponents would make notable gains. One of the polls, by Channel 12, has Likud falling from its current 30 seats to 29.

The centrist Yesh Atid would rise from its current 17 seats to 21 or 22, and the centrist Yesh Atid would jump from its current eight seats to 10 or 11. This suggests that if these two parties ran on a joint ticket, as they have in the past, they may surpass Likud at the ballot box. 

Currently, Yesh Atid's leader Yair Lapid has an opportunity to form a new government but if he fails, as is widely expected, another election is likely soon. Today’s polls suggest that, despite some changes, deadlock would continue, as after the last four elections.

The polls come as political arguments, largely put on hold through the conflict, are restarting. Yamina leader Naftali Bennett declared yesterday that while he kept quiet during fighting, he now wants to speak his mind.

“I do not remember such a period of weakness, dysfunction and national embarrassment,” he stated, pointing to rocket fire, internal rioting, the Meron disaster and a range of other problems. The country, he fumed, is suffering from a lack of responsible leadership and an ethos of "all power no responsibility.” 

Mr Bennett claimed: “It is no coincidence that our enemies are raising their heads right now. Our internal divisions and self-destruction weaken us. When the enemy recognizes weakness, it attacks.” 



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