Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Israel's Election And The Prospects For Peace

The deadlock in the race for prime minister between Israel's foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and former-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could actually offer the current lame-duck government there an opportunity to strike "a real truce with Hamas."

That's the hope, at least, of Israeli journalist Joel Leyden, my guest today on News Talk Online on

Although her Kadima Party received one more Knesset seat than did Netanyahu's Likud, Livni cannot form a government without the blessing of President Shimon Peres. And Peres may give the nod to Likud to form a coalition because that party is already is gaining support from the right-wing and religious parties.

While this may all be confusing to those outside Israel, Leyden notes that the process there represents, "the only Middle East country with democracy."

In the long run, Leyden says, it may not be too important to the White House who prevails.

"Israel and the United States," he says, "are basically on the same page when it comes to regional security."

Still, news reports indicate that many Arabs are dubious that the kind of peace process President Obama seeks will be possible. Because any government formed in Israel will either be already right leaning, or have to encompass so many right wing parties as to stymie talks before they even get started.

On that score, many Israelis might agree. One caller from Israel suggested that so long as Hamas represents the Gaza there can be no two-state solution. Perhaps, he suggested, a three-state solution will emerge. Israel, Palestine and Gaza.


Anonymous said...

Not all the votes are in and counted in the Israeli elections, this could make a difference in the dynamics of the situation. However, trying to second guess what will happen in the Israeli elections will be a minefield!

On the question of the possibility of a negotiated peace process I do get the strong impression that the sticking point will be the division, or not, of Jerusalem. As was suggested to me by one Israeli, maybe this ought to be one of the pre-conditions for any peace negotiations.

One thing that does come over strongly, both from the Israeli media and from the various Israelis that I have spoken to is that, whilst willing to listen to sensible solutions/suggestions by the International community, Israel MUST do what is best for Israel. As Bibi suggested, maybe people like Obama need to get used to hearing the word no.

I don't personally believe that there will be any lasting peace in the region. There may be negotiated cease fires, moments of relative calm, but the Islamic agenda of far more than Hamas is to see the ultimate removal of Israel from the region. This new Government, whoever it is, will not alter that agenda. Is this the 'same page' that Joel Leyden suggests the White House and Israel are on?

Anonymous said...

Netenyahu wants to end the threat from Hamas entirely. Only then can there be peace because the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel.

Contrary to the Arab and anti-Jewish propaganda we hear, Israel favors the destruction of NO one.