Israeli settlers hopeful after Netanyahu win

STORY: Having won the election last week, Israel’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most powerful likely ally to form a coalition is a political party called Religious Zionism.

It’s led by ultranationalist Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

"For me, the results of the last elections, from last week, is no less than a revolution, in the national sense and in my personal life.”

That’s Daniella Weiss, a veteran settler and the leader of the Bet El settlement.

She believes that Religious Zionism’s gains will lead to an acceleration in the development of the settlements.

Most world powers deem settlements built in the territory Israel seized in the 1967 war as illegal under international law.

They also view their expansion as an obstacle to peace, since they eat away at land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

Palestinian organizations are concerned that the likely coalition will led to an increase in settlement activity.

Which they say will close the door for any political solutions.

Israel disputes the illegality of the settlements, citing Biblical and historical ties to the West Bank.

The November 1 ballot saw the hard-line Religious Zionism party soar to third place in parliament.

Which has positioned it as a potential powerful partner in Netanyahu’s likely coalition.

Negotiations started on Sunday and could take weeks.

But hopes are already running high for Israel’s ideological settlers, who see themselves as pioneers redeeming Biblical heartlands promised by God.

"For me, from the point of view of a person who is heading a settlement movement, for me it's a victory for all these hills.”

More than 450,000 people are Jewish settlers in the West Bank - home to about 3 million Palestinians who exercise limited self-rule there.

Settlers driven ideologically to the smaller enclaves, deep in the territory, are a minority of the settler population.

But they are nonetheless a powerful political force, including in Netanyahu's Likud party.

Something Israeli settlers like Moshe Belogorodsky, who is Bet El's coordinator, are banking on.

"It gives me more hope that things will change in the state of Israel towards being a more Jewish state, a more of a settling the-land-of-Israel state, I hope I will be not proven wrong."