Middle East round-up: Netanyahu’s back, back again
Here’s a round-up of Al Jazeera’s Middle East coverage this week.
Netanyahu back as Israeli PM, Saudi investment in Twitter, and police violence in Iran. Here’s your round-up, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Al Jazeera Digital’s Middle East and North Africa editor.
Even with essentially all his political rivals united against him, Benjamin Netanyahu just couldn’t be kept down. The right-wing politician had spent 12 years as the Israeli prime minister, until March 2021, when he was forced out of office. Over the course of his career, Netanyahu had made so many enemies, across the entire political spectrum, that right-wing and left-wing Israelis, and even Palestinians, all united in a coalition against him. He’s also been indicted for fraud, and faces prison.
No matter, it seems. The anti-Netanyahu coalition collapsed, and for the fifth time in less than four years, Israelis voted. And with the count almost complete (by the time you read this, it could well be done), the results suggest that Netanyahu will be back as prime minister.
[READ: Four key takeaways from the Israeli elections]
How’d he do it? Netanyahu went and made new friends – namely Itamar Ben-Gvir, who once proudly displayed in his office a picture of an Israeli who massacred 29 Palestinians, and Bezalel Smotrich, who has said that the founders of Israel didn’t “finish the job” when they failed to get rid of all the Palestinians in 1948. It’s a glaringly stark sign of Israel’s plunge into the far right that Ben-Gvir and Smotrich’s alliance, the Religious Zionism Party, has done so well in the elections, and in the process has helped prop up Netanyahu.
[READ: Far-right Ben-Gvir emerges as key player in Israeli elections]
For many Palestinians, it’s just more of the same. Under the supposedly centrist, current and apparently outgoing prime minister, Yair Lapid, near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank have killed dozens of Palestinians since the start of the year. Meanwhile, as Zena Al Tahhan reports, many Palestinians living in Israel say they haven’t seen an improvement in their situation, despite the first-time presence of a Palestinian party in Israel’s now-outgoing coalition government.
Before the vote, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, Marwan Bishara, labelled Israel’s democracy an “utter fiction” because it rules over millions of Palestinians who are denied the right to vote. “Far-right fanatics and bloody generals dominate the absolute majority of seats in the Israeli Parliament,” Bishara says in his op-ed – and that was before the far right increased their seat tally.
Saudis are No. 2 at Twitter after Musk takeover
He might be the world’s richest person, but Elon Musk hasn’t just pumped his own money into his $44 billion takeover of Twitter. Instead, Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company, led by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is keeping its shares, and together with bin Talal’s private office, is the second largest investor in the new and (if you believe Musk) improved Twitter.
The prince and Musk weren’t always so friendly. The two got into a Twitter tiff in April, when the owner of Tesla and SpaceX first announced his intention to buy the social media company, after bin Talal rejected Musk’s initial offer. Musk’s response was to ask about Saudi Arabia’s views on journalistic free speech. Feisty …
Video of Iranian riot police beating man goes viral
Authorities in Iran have limited the amount of protest footage that gets out by throttling the internet, and banning several messaging apps. But one of the videos that has made it out has been particularly shocking, and appears to show police beating a man, who is then beaten further as he lies on the ground. Iran’s police force has said it’s investigating the incident.
Anti-government protests began in mid-September. From Tehran, Al Jazeera’s correspondent, Dorsa Jabbari, explains how protesters continue to defy the authorities.
And now for something different
Being an Afghan refugee in Iran is already difficult enough. Add being a woman who coaches a men’s football team into the mix, and life just got that much harder. But that’s exactly what Rozma Ghafouri is doing, even though she’s often forbidden from coaching from the sidelines.
Human Rights Watch accuses Bahrain’s government of using laws and other tactics to keep the opposition out of office – The Arab League holds its first summit since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Algeria – Qatar has made progress on workers’ rights but challenges remain, says International Labour Organisation – Tunisia could be banned from the World Cup over government interference in the Tunisian Football Federation – Michel Aoun steps down as president of Lebanon, with no one to replace him – Ukraine demands that Iran stop sending weapons to Russia – Spanish football fan walking to the World Cup in Qatar has been arrested in Iran – Iraq’s parliament approves new government
[WATCH: One shaped like a tent, and another made out of shipping containers, here are Qatar’s World Cup stadiums]
Quote of the Week
“Alaa will either be free in the next days, or he will die in prison during #COP27 as the world watches.” – Canadian author Naomi Klein on the Egyptian prisoner Alaa Abd el-Fattah. The dissident has decided to escalate his hunger strike to protest against his imprisonment. His family says he will reduce his caloric intake to zero, and on November 6, stop drinking water, when the COP27 global climate talks begin in Egypt.