Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Israel's election cliffhanger as Livni closes gap with Netanyahu.

The election is Israel is turning into a cliffhanger with Livni closing on Netanyahu as we approach the day for the vote, but it is still expected that Israel will, when this is all over, be led by a right wing administration.

Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, is slightly ahead, and given the combined size of the rightwing parties that would support him he is thought most likely to lead the next coalition government. But up to a fifth of voters are thought to be undecided, according to opinion polls.

Israel's proportional representation voting system is complicated and no single party will be able to form a government without bringing four or five other parties into a coalition. Even if Livni's Kadima party emerges with the largest number of seats most analysts think she would struggle to put together a like-minded coalition with enough seats to have a majority in the Knesset, or parliament.

"It will be very, very difficult for Livni to form a government, even if Kadima turns out to be the bigger party, because every government of Livni would depend on a rightwing party," said Yossi Verter, a political commentator for the left-leaning Ha'aretz newspaper.

It saddens me that Netanyahu will probably win this election as I do not believe that he has any interest in peace. For the first time in years we have, in the US, a president who is seriously prepared to take the Palestinian viewpoint into consideration and willing to push forward for a peace deal. The last thing which is needed is an obstructionist like Netanyahu in power in Israel.

And Netanyahu will probably rely on the support of people like Avigdor Lieberman to form his government. As far as I am concerned Lieberman is a quasi-Fascist and will bring about the collapse of Netanyahu's government in the unlikely event that he attempts to make peace.

Israel simply couldn't make a worse choice than the one she appears to be about to make at this time. Pulling off a peace deal in the Middle East was always likely to be Obama's stiffest challenge, but the election of Netanyahu will probably make that almost impossible. Almost.

If Obama pushes forward with the sense of fairness and logic which has epitomised his run for office then he might, might, just be able to make the impossible possible. But the election of Netanyahu will make this much harder to pull off.

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5 comments:

Steel Phoenix said...

We should cut off their funding, military and otherwise. Until they are forced to respect their neighbors, there will be no peace.

Kel said...

I happen to think that the US is the only government powerful enough to pressure the Israelis into making peace, but they'll never be as tough as you are asking for here SP.

The Israeli lobby are simply too powerful for their funding ever to be cut.

But I have faith that Obama will be fairer than many of his predecessors.

Comrade Tovya said...

Okay, let's break this down...

Hamas was democratically elected into power by the Palestinians... and their platform is the utter destruction of Israel.

So it's easy to point the finger at Israel and say that "Israelis don't want peace" because of the way they vote, but where is the condemnation of the Palestinians' voting habits?

Yeah, I guess we all can see this goes both ways.

Steel Phoenix said...

Sure it goes both ways. Israel also has a democratically elected government set on the destruction of Palestinian society. We give high tech and often illegal weaponry to only one side in this conflict. I'm not asking that we bomb Israel or anything, just that we treat them with the same respect we do the Palestinians. That means we either give them high tech weaponry too, or we quit giving it to Israel. I'm not a fan of giving away weaponry to anyone. if it is gong to end up there, we ought to be selling it at the very least. If they had to pay for it, maybe they would be less likely to use it wastefully on civilians.

Kel said...

Hamas was democratically elected into power by the Palestinians... and their platform is the utter destruction of Israel.

So it's easy to point the finger at Israel and say that "Israelis don't want peace" because of the way they vote, but where is the condemnation of the Palestinians' voting habits?


People always harp on about Hamas wanting the destruction of Israel as if they have any chance of ever pulling that off. Plus, Hamas have made clear that they would abide by any deal Fatah negotiated as long as it is ratified by the Palestinian people. So they don't sound to me as if they quite so bedded to this notion of Israel's destruction.

And I say Israel don't want peace because for the past forty years they have told us there is no-one to negotiate with and continued building illegally on Palestinian land. And, as for holding the Palestinians responsible for the way they voted, why is anyone surprised that they chose Hamas when the moderate Fatah party were getting nowhere with Israel vis a vis negotiations?