As the Israeli general election results come out on Wednesday, the world will be watching eagerly; for the election race is becoming a close one. Quite unpredictably, Benjamin Nethanyahu, who dissolved his coalition to call for early elections, seems to be losing popularity – his Lukid party is second placed – ahead of the polls. His main opponent, Issac Herzog, leader of the Labour party has formed an alliance with Hatuna’s Tzipi Livni to form the centre-left Zionist alliance. This presents a rare opportunity to the voters, to stick with Nethenyahu’s increasingly belligerent nationalist politics, or switch to a more liberal view, one that perhaps can achieve peace in the region

Unfortunately, while the rest of the world tends to view the Israeli general elections through the prism of the stalled peace process with Palestine, the Israeli voters do not. The Palestinian peace process was an ancillary issue during the extensive campaign season; the main focus being the rising cost of living and economic problems. Even the Zionist Alliance, which presents itself as the alternative to Netanyahu’s ultra nationalism and grandstanding, chose to focus on the economy, with only the promise to restart the peace process, but nothing further. In this bleak landscape the historic alliance of the three major Arab parties to form the Joint List may be the only redeeming factor. The party is poised to be the third biggest party in Israel, but is unlikely to form a coalition government with the two major Jewish parties. It can nonetheless play an important role in tilting public attention towards regional peace. Israel’s electoral law may yet interfere with such ambitions, even if Lukid doesn’t win, it can still be called to form a coalition government if the President feel they can form a much more stable government, virtually making any sort of pre-poll prediction impossible.

Herzog’s victory may mean little for the Palestinian on the ground in Gaza strip and the West Bank, but it still will be a vast improvement over a nationalist coalition. Nethanyahu has grown increasingly extreme in his view and his actions have drawn the ire of many people, even his allies. In the build-up to the election, he delivered a controversial address to the US Congress, criticising the Iran Nuclear deal and on the eve of the election he said that he would not support a two-state solution, going back on his previous. For Nethanyahu, all the cards are on the table, he has hyped up national security and taken highly polarising stances; if he still wins, he will have unfettered power to ground the hope of a viable Palestine into the dust.