Monday, February 02, 2009

Israeli governing parties face poll battering amid Gaza scepticism.

So many innocent Palestinians dead, and for what?

Israel's governing parties are facing eclipse in an upcoming general election as the Gaza campaign fails to convince a sceptical public while playing into the hands of opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu.

With Israel's 10 February election just over a week away, opinion polls and analysts say that the two principal government parties, Kadima and Labour, have extracted little benefit from the three-week Gaza war.

That much was underscored yesterday when at least 10 rockets were fired into Israel, injuring three and drawing ominous promises of retaliation from the government. Hamas has not taken responsibility for the new attacks, some of which have been claimed by smaller groups. But Israel says it holds Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since seizing power in June 2007, responsible for all attacks coming from the territory.

Israel retaliated by bombing three targets in Gaza last night after the government threatened "harsh and disproportionate" action as it scrambled to stop Palestinian rocket fire and to check the rise of its right-wing rival, Netanyahu's Likud party.

The election of Netanyahu would be the worst possible result for those of us who hope that the election of Obama might, at last, signal an opportunity to see a peace deal in the Middle East.

After all Netanyahu is a man who has said:
"Since the Six Day War the Arab world has been trying to get us off the mountains of Judea and Samaria, but as long as we are on this mountain, we are unbeatable," opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.
And, of course, getting Israel off those mountains is exactly what Obama will be seeking to do. Which Netanyahu is set to oppose every inch of the way.

The opposition leader noted that "the automatic assumption of withdrawing to the 1967 borders is unjustified, immoral and very dangerous to the State of Israel."

And yet opinion polls in Israel are predicting that Netanyahu and the Likud party are set to win the election.

A poll conducted for Haaretz newspaper at the weekend predicted that Likud and its allies would win 65 seats in the elections, giving it a 12-seat advantage over the centre-left parties, which are expected to capture just 53 of the 120 parliamentary seats up for grabs.

So, Olmert and Livni have killed hundreds of innocent Palestinians in an attempt to outdo Netanyahu, and it appears as if it was all to no avail. Come February 10th, it looks like the world will have to deal with a man who regards the West Bank and Gaza as Judea and Samaria.

What Olmert and Livni have done is simply criminal. But there will be no punishment for it.

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