MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Thursday, January 23, 2003
Crystal Ball: Israel Election results
Following are my updated predictions regarding the Israeli elections, not much changed from earlier ones: (and including NRP)
Right Bloc 66: Likud - 32| NRP|4| Nat Union 8 | Shas 14| UTJ 4| Yisrael B'Aliya 4|
Israel Election Polls - Left retreating - Jan 23 2003
Five days before the election, there is little change in poll results. The Israeli public is unimpressed by revelations of scandals in the right-wing Likud, unworried by the dismal economy, the continuing Palestine-Israel conflict and the looming conflict between Israel and the USA over the Palestine settlement roadmap, and turned off by Labor challenger Amram Mitzna's vow not to enter a unity government.
Sunday, January 19, 2003
Iraq: How Saddam hides the smoke and the guns
In this interview with a Milan journal, an Iraqi general reveals how Saddam Hussein is hiding both the smoke and the guns from UN inspectors.
I, at Saddam's Side
by Pino Buongiorno in Amman
The Roadmap Ahead II - Which does Israel Want - Settlements or US Support?
Israelis are going to elections convinced that 2003 will be like 2001-2002. The Israeli government has the dangerous illusion that the USA will continue to support Ariel Sharon's policies indefinitely, and that a change of regime in Iraq will make the Middle East safe for settler Zionism. The war will solve all things. The Palestinian problem will evaporate by magic, and 3.5 million Palestinians will be transferred to "somewhere" allowing the Jews of Israel to live in peace and harmony, enjoying the benefits of government by godfathers and religious fanatics.
Anti-Semites and anti-Zionists have cited a "Zionist conspiracy" in the USA that is cooking up a war in Iraq in order to further the aims of Israeli settler advocates. The chief conspirator of the Zionist conpiracy, almost certainly an elder of Zion according to these folks, is Paul Wolfowitz.
This unholy alliance has totally ignored traditional US policy, announced US policy, the US backed UN resolution concerning a Palestinian state, and the continually advancing quartet roadmap plan, which hands over Sharon's government like a sword of Damocles. Sharon wants both US support and settlements. 9-11 and the Iraq war allowed him to have both for a time, but that time is drawing to an end.
In "Israeli Elections: The Roadmap Ahead" I argued that after the Iraqi problem is settled, the USA will turn to pressuring Israel to face up to its obligations in the peace process - and get with the roadmap plan.
Confirmation for this view, even before the Iraq war has started, comes from none other than Paul Wolfowitz himself. Wolfowitz was quite explicit about USA plans regarding the Israel-Palestinian issue after the war, and rather explicit regarding the US stand on settlements, as noted in an article in today's Ha'aretz.
Friday, January 17, 2003
Israeli Election Polls - January 16-17, 2003
It hard to generate interest in the Israeli elections despite their crucial importance because the race seems to be pretty much locked up. Ariel Sharon has not been hurt by allegations of widespread corruption any more than Nixon was hurt in 1972. After the elections, it may be another matter. Labor party leader Amram Mitzna alienated a bit more of his potential supporters by announcing he would not join a unity government. This is not a wise thing to do considering the popularity of the unity government among Israeli voters and the fact that Mitzna has almost no chance of beating front-runner Sharon. [more]
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
Israel Election Polls - Sharon bounces back: Jan 12, 03
Though the Likud party was hurt temporarily by allegations of scandal, Ariel Sharon's televised campaign speech (see previous posting) that blamed the whole affair on a vile plot of the
Polls released on Sunday indicate that the Likud has recovered its lead, as its commercials lash out at Labor for trying to "Shut up the PM." Sharon's press conference was stopped by Central Election Committee head Judge Cheshin, whose political affiliations are not known or relevant.
Note that the two polls summarized below consistently show better results for the right than the Ha'aretz dialog poll, that had previously predicted as many as 24 seats for Labor, and as few as 27 for the Likud. In actual elections, the Shas party has always done much better than is predicted by the opinion polls.
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Sharon's "I am not a crook" Speech - TEXT
Following revelations of probable "irregularities" in his campaign financing, Israeli PM Ariel Sharon gave a press conference in the familiar tradition established by Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. We have heard, "I am not a crook" "I did not have sex with that woman" and now we have "despicable plot to usurp the government." The press conference itself was ruled to violate Israeli election law by Judge Cheshin, who ordered the broadcast stopped in the middle. Sharon offered no substantive explanations of the charges against him and his behavior. [more]
Israel Election Polls 10.01.03 - Scandal hurts Sharon, doesn't help the left
Election Polls this week were affected by revelations of probable corruption in the Likud party. Information is partial, but problem after problem is turning up. Primaries controlled by underworld figures were a prelude. Now a questionable 'loan' to PM Sharon has sent Likud tumbling down to 27 seats versus 24 for labor in the Ha'aretz Poll.
Monday, January 6, 2003
Grim Routine - Palestinian Suicide Bombing Kills 23 in Tel Aviv
Israeli political parties have not really kicked off their election campaigns yet, but Palestinian extremists won several seats for hard line PM Ariel Sharon last night by setting off a double blast in adjacent streets in south Tel Aviv, killing 23 and wounding about 100. Many of the victims were foreign workers as well as new immigrants and Israelis, and Israel radio broadcast emergency announcements throughout the evening in Rumanian, Russian, Tagalog, English, French, Spanish and other languages. The announcements gave emergency telephone numbers and urged illegal residents to report for treatment, promissing immunity if they did.
"Credit" for the attack was claimed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah Tanzeem. Yasser Arafat and PNA spokespersons later condemned the murders and Fatah Tanzim stated that they were not involved. The PNA arrested an Al-Jazira TV correspondent who had reported the Tanzim claim and exhibited a letter proportedly signed by two activists. US President Bush joined in condemning the attacks as well.
The Israeli security cabinet met late Sunday evening to plan the response, which could variously be characterized as reprisal or self-defensive and preventive security. Throughout the evening, the death toll climbed gradually from "over ten" to 23. Extremist Israeli ministers called for killing Yasser Arafat in new and better ways, and extreme left Israelis will gather to chant "the occupation is killing us all."
Except for numbers, places and dates, the same script has been played out too many times in the past 26 months. By this time, the routine is familiar to every Israeli, including the certainty that the election period will be accompanied by more deadly attacks, as extremist groups try to ensure the failure of peace efforts and peace candidates. The attacks are sure to make Israeli acceptance of the Quartet roadmap more difficult, and have probably sabotaged Egyptian efforts at obtaining Palestinian consent to a cease fire.
Saturday, January 4, 2003
Israeli Election Polls - January 3 2003 + Corrected predictions
The Likud continues to lose popularity because of election scandals, and perhaps because year-end economic data have made people realize that the economy is really in awful shape, and the government has done virtually nothing about it. The Likud forecast has shrunk to as low as 31 knesset seats in the Ha'aretz forecast, down from as high as 40 seats.
Israeli opinion polls show consistently better results for the left than the real results, and especially underestimate the vote for the Ultra-orthodox Shas party, and current polls register about 25% of respondents who say "don't know" or refuse to reply.
A probable forecast of the final results, based on current polls and past projections:
Right Bloc 65 : Likud - 31| NRP 4| Nat Union 8 | Shas 13| UTJ 5| Yisrael B'Aliya 4|
The above assumes that Arab party candidates Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara will be allowed to run following their appeal to the Israel High Court.
Friday, January 3, 2003
How To Build an Israeli Opposition (Author's title: Beyond Failures of Right & Left)
Posted by Ralph Seliger
Palestinian terrorism has always strengthened the political right in Israel. No Labor or Meretz prime minister would stay in power if he or she presided over the security emergency that has escalated under Ariel Sharon....Yet Sharon is evidently to be coronated again in the January 28 general election.
by Editor @ 10:34 PM CST [Link]
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