MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

log  archives  middle east  maps  history   documents   countries   books   encyclopedia   culture   dialogue   links    timeline   donations 


What will happen after the Israeli elections?


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 here.

Ratna Pelle

This article originally appeared at http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000030.html,

If you like this post - click to Reddit!
add to del.icio.usAdd to digg - digg it

Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000446.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 01:13 PM CST [Link]


Middle East e-Zine

Midde East News

Opinion Digest

Late Updates


Middle East Glossary

Middle East Maps

Middle East Books

Middle East Documents

Israel-Palestine History

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Middle East Countries

Middle East Economy

Middle East Population

Middle East Health

Zionism History

Palestinian Parties

Palestinian Refugees

Peace Plans


Middle East


Blog Links

OneVoice - Israeli-Palestinian Peace Blog

Bravo411 -Info Freedom

Israel News


Michael Brenner

Dutchblog Israel

Dutch - IMO (Israel & Midden-Oosten) Blog (NL)



Alas, a Blog

Little Green Footballs

Blue Truth

Fresno Zionism

Reut Blog

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Blog

Simply Jews: Judaism and Israel

Jeff Weintraub - Commentaries and Controversies

Vital Perspective


Meretz USA Weblog


MIDEAST observer

On the Contrary

Blogger News Network- BNN

Google Sex Maps

Demediacratic Nation

Realistic Dove

Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.

On the Face

Israel Palestjnen (Dutch)

Middle East Analysis

Israel: Like This, As If

Middle East Analysis

Mid_East Journal

Z-Word Blog

Dvar Dea

SEO for Everyone

Web Sites & Pages

Israeli-Palestinian Procon

End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: One Voice


ATFP- American Task Force on Palestine

Americans For Peace Now

Shalom Achshav

Chicago Peace Now


Peacechild Israel

Bridges of Peace


Israeli-Palestinian Conflict



Zionism and Israel

Zionism and Israel on the Web

Israel - Palestina:Midden-Oosten Conflict + Zionisme

IsraŽl in de Media

Euston Manifesto

New Year Peace


Christian Zionism

Jew Hate

Space Shuttle Blog

Israel News Magazine


My Ecosystem Details
International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Link 2 us
We link 2 U.
MidEastWeb- Middle East News & Views
MidEastWeb is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites

Replies: 2 comments

Well, I have desided that these elections are the best for this country. My global class is doing a game, and I have to do questions and Im going to do alot of questions on this article. So this article shows you alot of info.
I sound dumb here, but im not, im in debate, and i took second at state/.

Posted by Katharine Miller @ 04/10/2006 10:43 PM CST

Another scenario (I know, it is unrealistic, but maybe it contains useful ideas): Archduke Otto of Habsburg, the legitimate Emporer of Austria and King of Hungary, holds the title "King of Jerusalem". He is an old and wise man, completly independent, a humanist fighter for democracy, human rights and european integration. He wrote many very intelligent political books about international problems and committed his life to the fight against national sodeletedm and communism. He was a Member of the European Parliament for 20 years and has best contacts in all over the world. If he would overtake the throne in Jerusalem, he could guarantee a neutral (he is strictly catholic) reign over Jews and Arabs, no chance for extremism or theocracy or dictatorship. Maybe he could achieve acception by the muslims, just like some medieval kings did with Sultan Saladin. This would be the end of the Intifada, and a big step towards the victory in the war on terrorism.

Posted by Severin @ 04/12/2006 12:44 AM CST

Please do not leave notes for MidEastWeb editors here. Hyperlinks are not displayed. We may delete or abridge comments that are longer than 250 words, or consist entirely of material copied from other sources, and we shall delete comments with obscene or racist content or commercial advertisements. Comments should adhere to Mideastweb Guidelines . IPs of offenders will be banned.

Powered By Greymatter

[Previous entry: "The devil is in the detail in the Middle East"] Main Index [Next entry: "Israeli Elections - What the Hell!"]


Thank you for visiting MidEastWeb - Middle East.
If you like what you see here, tell others about the MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log - www.mideastweb.org/log/.

Contact Us


Editors' contributions are copyright by the authors and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA.
Please link to main article pages and tell your friends about MidEastWeb. Do not copy MidEastWeb materials to your Web Site. That is a violation of our copyright. Click for copyright policy.
MidEastWeb and the editors are not responsible for content of visitors' comments.
Please report any comments that are offensive or racist.

Editors can log in by clicking here

Technorati Profile

RSS FeedRSS feed Add to Amphetadesk Add to Amphetadesk

USA Credit Card - Donate to MidEastWeb  On-Line - Help us live and grow