Skip to comments.Likud lead grows as Gaza factor aids right
Posted on 01/26/2009 10:34:42 PM PST by bruinbirdman
Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling away from his rivals in the race to become Israels next prime minister, in a sign that the three-week war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has accelerated Israels shift to the political right.
Polls show that Mr Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party opposition, would win at least 28 seats in the next parliament. His closest rival in the February 10 election, the centrist Kadima party, is expected to secure 24 to 25 seats.
The gap has widened in recent days, suggesting the Gaza conflict provided only a limited boost to the parties in government. Both Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and Kadima leader, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister and Labour leader, have seen their personal ratings rise, but their parties have not benefited to the same degree.
One issue that Mr Netanyahus rivals hope will help close the gap is the arrival of Barack Obama as US president. George Mitchell, the new US Middle East envoy, is expected in Israel for talks on Wednesday, just as the campaign enters its final weeks.
While the US is keen not to get involved in internal politics, the new administration is already a campaign issue. Kadimas Ms Livni claims the vital Israel-US relationship would suffer if Mr Netanyahu were elected. In remarks at the weekend, she reminded Israeli voters that her rival enjoyed a prickly relationship with the US during his spell as prime minister from 1996 to 1999.
She pointed out that the hawkish Mr Netanyahu had rejected peace talks aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state a policy that Mr Obama appears to be backing with vigour.
A Kadima spokeswoman said: If Netanyahu is going to be in government that means that the Americans are not going to have anybody to deal with on the Israeli side.
Yet such charges could just as easily backfire. While Israelis are acutely aware of the importance of US-Israel relations, the recent Gaza war has brought home the message that the country has to rely above all on itself to tackle security threats. With a slogan promising he will be strong on security, Mr Netanyahu looks well-placed to tap into that sentiment. Mr Netanyahu is seen to have played an astute supporting role during the war. He backed the offensive from the outset, but urged the government not to halt the operation until Hamas was ousted from the Gaza Strip. His insistence on a broader operation puts him in a position to attack his governing opponents for wasting an opportunity to deal decisively with Hamas.
However, even if the Likud leader wins most seats on February 10, he will not be able to govern alone. The Knesset has 120 seats, of which Mr Netanyahu can hope to capture 30 at best.
On current predictions, the future government will be made up of either a combination of the main parties Likud, Kadima and Labour or an alliance between the Likud and ultra-nationalist and religious parties.
Either way, prospects for renewed peace talks remain unclear. Ms Livni is keen on negotiations, but even if Kadima prevails she will lack coalition partners for such a course. Mr Netanyahu, meanwhile, has said he wants to focus on raising living standards of Palestinians in the West Bank but rejects any moves towards Palestinian statehood.
Not sure how that impacts Israel.
I hope that Al-Arabiya interview 0bama did helps Bibi in the polls.
could we trade??
normal people all over the world are counting on you!!
ok, not all over the world, but i know a couple of dozen.
It might have a sudden impact on Iran and some of the other jihad trash..
Good! There should be no more cease fires. The militants are only rearming and digging more tunnels. They will never stop until Israel is defeated. Peace talks are just talk to buy time to reinforce and restrategize. Their god has told them to defeat the West.
Ping - what I was saying the other day about the upcoming Israeli election.
Israel knows they are on their own now. This is real Hope and Change.
Pray for America, our Troops and obama’s Guidance
......Mr Netanyahu, meanwhile, has said he wants to focus on raising living standards of Palestinians in the West Bank.....
In my view, this is a continuation of the Bush policy. There were quiet under the covers operations to strengthen the west bank while isolating Hamas and Gaza. It is difficult to see exactly what was done but we have clues.
A US General (retired?) and who knows what others, developed a security training program and trained Palestinians in Jordan, out of harms way. This force is replacing the corrupt and perhaps ideological security on the West Banks.
Secondly over the holidays, it was announced that major investment has been made in Bethlehem to develop hotels and tourist infrastructure. This means that there is economic development under way on a larger scale. That means that someone developed a plan to provide jobs and income within the west bank.
Lastly at a minimum, Israel, Palestine West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the USA are cooperating on the effort.
The Bush policy was fruit basket turn over. All the old ruts were abandoned and completely new paths were established. The EU diplomacy was forever shunted aside. The Arabian Arabs came on board and there is progress.
The very first crack out of the box, Hussein ran around his Secretary of State and appointed a poor jobless George Mitchell moonbat hack as super plenipotentiary Hillary was given a position, but her job was given to Mitchell. He sent a man to do the job.
Best news all day!
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