Palestinians Surprised, Skeptical of Israeli Election Outcome

Push toward moderation good, but doubt it'll change Netanyahu's actions


Palestinian officials said Wednesday they were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected surge of moderate parties in Israel's election, but doubt it's enough to change the prime minister's hard-line policies.

Negotiations on a Palestinian state have been frozen under Benjamin Netanyahu, who rejects Palestinian demands for halting building in Jewish settlements. Palestinians argue that construction for Jews in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, war-won territories they want for their state, pre-empts the outcome of negotiations.

Netanyahu is likely to retain his job after Tuesday's vote, but he suffered a blow when his Likud-Yisrael Beitenu bloc and other parties in the hawkish camp lost seats to center-left factions, creating a 60-60 tie in the 120-member parliament.