ZioNation - Progressive Zionism and Israel Web Log

ZioNation home Archives Site map Policy Definitions FAQ timeline history documents Links Photos Contact

Articles and Reference

History of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
History of Anti-Semitism
History of Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Six Day War
War of Independence
Bible  Quotes
1948 Israel War of Independence Timeline Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism History
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Learn Hebrew
Israel Boycott?
Boycott Israel?
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Jew Hate
International Zionism
Commentary in Russian
Middle East
The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini
Albert Einstein
Palestine: Ethnic Cleansing
History Arab-Israeli Conflict
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com

By Ratna Pelle

As the final results of the Israeli elections point out, there is a -small- majority for a center-left coalition, and thus for more withdrawals from the West Bank. Although Olmert (29 seats) said he is also open to negotiations with the right, it seems unlikely that he will form a coalition with the very parties that did everything to prevent the disengagement from the Gaza strip. The very formation of Kadima was caused by the stiff resistance to the Gaza pullout, let alone more disengagements from the West Bank. Maybe I am too optimistic, however: Peretz (20 seats) has to show some flexibility for sure, and at least two other parties are needed for a majority: the Pensioners Party (7 seats) and Meretz (5 seats) would make 61 seats, or one or two ultra orthodox parties (Shas (12) and United Torah Judaism(6)), possibly with the Pensioners Party. However the orthodox parties are not likely to agree to further withdrawals from the West Bank without a major change on the Palestinian side.

The election results show that a stable coalition in favor of further withdrawals will be difficult, and a stable coalition will be difficult anyway. There is only one rather big party, but it has only gained about 22% of the votes. Although the Labor party presents itself as being victorious, it only gained 15% of the votes. All other parties gained less than 10% of the votes. The political landscape looks very fragmentary. A lot of people voted according to their religious affiliation or ethnic origin.
The results possibly also show that many Israelis are a bit clueless about what should be done in the future. The low voters turn out (63%) could well have been caused by this: no-one has convinced the electorate that his solution is the best. Also, Israelis miss their strong leader Sharon. Kadima of course positioned itself as the party that will carry on the legacy of Sharon, and complete what he started. In fact, however, no-one knows what he really wanted to do and what his 'legacy' is. Would he be willing to withdraw behind the fence and give up all settlements on the other side? Or would he be willing to do so only after the Palestinians renounce terror and recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

The election results also show a growing concern about social economic issues. Many poor people, especially Sephardic and Russian immigrants, living in 'development towns', used to vote for Likud (12 seats), but were probably too disappointed by the harsh economic policy of the previous years. One fifth of the population lives below the poverty line, and there are some 250 soup-kitchens. Hence the votes for Gil (the Pensioner's Party). People who worked all their lives and paid taxes should not be forced to go to a soup-kitchen to fill their stomach.

It is remarkable that the Hamas victory didn't boost the right in Israel. Ysrael Beiteinu (11 seats), a far-right party that supports 'transfer' of Israeli Arabs, won some votes, but nevertheless got only 5% of the votes. Looking at the whole picture, the right didn't win.

What does this all mean for the future?

Israelis and Palestinians have voted. The Israeli vote is ambiguous on the Palestinian issue, but an improvement to the previous Knesset, as Kadima as a new party won the elections with a platform calling for more withdrawals from the West Bank, on cost of especially the Likud.

On first sight, the Palestinians voted against peace and compromise. But Palestinians also voted for the moderate Abbas as president last year, and the majority for Hamas was partly caused by the Palestinian election system, that favored regional candidates and punished Fatah for having several competing candidates in the same towns, and the wide spread corruption within Fatah. Yet the Hamas victory should not be played down. Hamas is a radical organization, that carried out hundreds of suicide attacks within Israel and calls for continuing the Jihad or, in more acceptable words, 'armed resistance' against Israel. Its victory would be comparable to Ysrael Beiteinu having 30-40% of the votes in Israel. That would not be a mandate for peace, even if the votes where in part caused by frustration about Likud's harsh economic policy or its corruption scandals. So the Palestinian vote is ambiguous at best, and bad for peace in practice.

There are roughly three possibilities now:

* Direct peace negotiations between both parties. Abbas wants this and Kadima said it would be willing to do so if the Hamas recognizes Israel and denounces violence, which Hamas stated clearly several times it would not do. A center-left government might be willing to talk to Abbas, but Abbas is even weaker now than he was before the Hamas victory, and cannot make any agreements without approval of the Hamas government.

* Unilateral withdrawals from parts of the West Bank, from a few small settlements or all the territory east of the fence or anything in between. This is a likely scenario, especially with a center-left government, but without any agreement with the Palestinians the scope will probably be limited. 'Defining our own borders' sounds attractive, but without any international recognition these borders are no real borders, and without any peace agreement they will not provide real security. Israel will probably evacuate some isolated settlements but not withdraw the army, and possibly continue building in the large settlement blocs.

* No further withdrawals, and further settlement expansion. This might bring Israel in trouble not only with the UN and EU, but also the USA. On the other hand, since Hamas has come to power the pressure on Israel to withdraw and make concessions will surely not be stronger than it has been in previous years. Several countries already decided to cut contacts with the Hamas-led government, so how can they demand Israel negotiates with them? However, as Kadima came to power on a platform of further withdrawals, it is likely they will dismantle at least a few settlements.

More on these scenarios in the next blog.

Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000030.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

Click to Reddit! Facebook Share

add to del.icio.us

Add to digg - digg it

Constructive comments, including corrections, are welcome. Do not use this space for spam, publishing articles, self promotion, racism, anti-Zionist propaganda or character defamation. Inappropriate comments will be deleted. See our Comment policy for details. By posting here, you agree to the Comment policy.


Please take our reader survey!

Our Sites

Zionism News Net
Zionism-Israel Pages
Brave Zionism
IsraŽl-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Our Blogs
Israel News
IMO Blog - IsraŽl & Midden-Oosten (NL)
Israel Like this, as if
Zionism News Net
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog
IsraŽl in de Media

Blog Roll:
Adam Holland
Blue Truth
CIF Watch
Contentious Centrist
Dutchblog Israel (NL/EN)
Harry's Place
Ignoble Experiment
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Jewish Issues Watchdog Meretz USA Weblog
Meryl Yourish
Middle East Analysis
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log
Modernity Blog
Pro Israel Bay Bloggers
Point of no return
Simply Jews
Something Something
Tempting Topical Topics
The Augean Stables
Unplugged Mike
Oy Bay! San Francisco Bay Area Jews
Vital Perspective
Israel Mon Amour
Liberty & Justice
On the Contrary
Magdeburger Chossid
Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.
Southern Wolf
Sharona's Week
Sanda & Israel
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Liberal for Israel

A Jew with a view
Realistic Dove
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
SEO for Everyone
Vision to Reality: The Reut Blog
Calev's Blog
Candidly speaking from Jerusalem
Dvar Dea
Ray Cook
Shimshon 9

Mark Halawa

This link space is 4 your blog - contact us!

Other Web sites and pages:

PeaceWatch Middle East Commentary Christians Standing With Israel
Zionism On the Web
Guide to Middle East, Zionism
Z-Word blog
Labor Zionism
Le Grand Mufti Husseini
The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin El Husseini
ZNN - Zionism News Network Middle East
Euston Manifesto
Jewish Blogging
Peace With Realism
Israel Facts (NL)
Space Shuttle Blog
Love Poems
At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum


Judaica: Jewish Gifts:

RSS V 1.0

RSS V 2.0

Help us improve - Please click here to take our reader survey

All entries copyright by the authors and or Zionism-Israel Information Center. Please forward materials by e-mail with URLS. Other uses by permission only.