Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory in the general election after exit polls put his party ahead of its main rival with a narrow lead.
Media projections give Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party 36 or 37 seats while his main rival Benny Gantz’s Blue and White managed 33 seats.
Based on the exit polls, Likud and like-minded parties combined could win 60 of Knesset’s 120-seats, only one short of a majority.
The Monday election was the Israeli regime's third in less than a year. Netanyahu, who has been indicted in a corruption scandal, had failed to secure a governing majority in the elections held in April and September, last year.
Netanyahu's victory means annexation, settlements, apartheid
Meanwhile Palestinian officials and factions have slammed the vote. Saeb Erekat, a top official of the Palestine Liberation Organization said Israel’s exit polls show victory for annexation and apartheid.
"From the exit polls we have just seen it's obvious that annexation, settlements, apartheid won the elections," Erekat said in a message.
"The whole election campaign was about annexation of the Jordan Valley , the Dead Sea, the settlements, Jerusalem, subjecting the Palestinian people to further and deeper to the Israeli occupation; denying them the rights of determination," he added.
Erekat said Netanyahu "has taken the wrong side of history" and his pro-conflict policies will take the region into a cycle of violence, extremism, counter-violence and bloodshed.
And seems to me that Mr. Netanyahu believes that conflict is what serves Israel's interests in the future. I believe he has taken the wrong side of History, I think if he forces Palestinians and Israelis to live by the sword that means a cycle of violence, extremism, counter-violence and bloodshed dominate this region."
The Hamas also slammed the vote saying election in the Palestinian territory has NO legitimacy and Israel will remain an occupying regime.
Ismail Radwan, a Hamas official, said there is no difference between Israel’s right and left parties since they are all hostile to the Palestinians.