Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Israeli Elections

Patience, Not Panic, on Israeli-Palestinian Peace - Michael Singh
  •  [A]nalysts who fret that the Israeli election will diminish prospects for peace have confused cause and effect.
  • Heightened security worries sparked by Iran and the upheaval in the Arab world, compounded by fading hopes for peace with the Palestinians after four years of backsliding in the peace process, have fueled the electoral shifts that will be manifest in the Jan. 22 results.
  • A Dahaf poll from December 2012 indicates that Israelis increasingly believe that concessions will not bring real peace. 83% did not believe that even a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines would bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • This pessimism about peace has undoubtedly fueled a view that "defensible borders," not a peace agreement, is the surest route to actually achieving peace. 61% of Israelis express that view, compared to 49% who did so in 2005.
  • Right now, only 39% of Israelis believe that they can rely upon the U.S. to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    The writer is managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(Foreign Policy)


Israel's Labor head poised to be Netanyahu gadfly -Aron Heller

Shelly Yachimovich, 52, took over Labor, the once-storied movement that led Israel to independence, in late 2011 at one of its lowest points. Buoyed by a social protest movement, she revitalized the party by veering away from its traditional dovish platform of promoting peace with the Arabs and focusing almost entirely on the economy, jobs and the country's various social ills.
Her political ascent, along with the strength of the Israeli right wing, underscores that pursuing peace with the Palestinians is not a winning campaign issue among Israelis, who appear to have lost faith that West Bank lands can be traded for peace.
Skeptical Israelis point to the rising strength of Hamas militants in Gaza Strip, the uncertainty roiling the region as the Arab Spring unfolds, and the wide gaps with moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that have kept negotiations deadlocked the past four years. Even when Israeli leaders proposed what they considered far-reaching offers, during the 2000-2001 negotiations and again in 2008, no deal was reached.
[Associated Press]
[Hat tip: LindaF]

A vote for internal change -Herb Keinon

A vote for a dramatic change in the country’s diplomatic/security direction would have meant a torrent of voters for Livni, or Meretz, or even Kadima, all of which championed a different diplomatic position than the one Netanyahu has been promoting.

Livni’s campaign, for example, was all about returning to the way things were when she was negotiating with the PLO’s Ahmed Qurei. Tuesday’s results, and Livni’s devastatingly poor showing, did not indicate nostalgia for those days.

No, the votes did not pour in for Livni, but rather for Lapid, Shelly Yacimovich and Bennett.

And none of those candidates – not even Bennett, so often labeled extreme Right – ran a campaign on diplomatic/ security external issues.
[Jerusalem Post]

Why I Voted for Yair Lapid -Yossi Klein Halevi

Centrists want a two-state solution and are prepared to make almost any territorial compromise for peace. But they also believe that no concessions, at least for now, will win Israel legitimacy and real peace. Centrists want to be doves but are forced by reality to be hawks.

The Israeli media is speaking relentlessly of an even divide between the left-wing and right-wing blocs. That’s nonsense. Yesh Atid isn’t a left-wing party; half of its voters define themselves as right of center.
[Tablet Magazine]

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