MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
An Early response to Hamas Success
Morning of 25/1/2006
The time has come for the restructuring of the Palestinian political system. While the accumulated causes of this change grew and grew, the moment of change came like an earthquake, as a result of election results that were different from the predictions of various public opinion polls.
The public opinion polls correctly predicted that Hamas and Fatah will together get 110-120 seats. Likewise, their results would have been correct right if 100% had participated in the elections, but 22.4% did not vote, which changed a great deal. Likewise the results in the districts were very difficult to predict, because of Fatah candidates running against each other. [more]
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections
The outcome of the Palestinian elections shows a classic paradox of democracy: the victory of an undemocratic and extremist party. The voting was fair and democratic, and more than in the elections of 1996, there was a vivid campaign and the Palestinian people really had something to choose. [more]
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Hamas victory - the new Middle East is not what we expected
All indications are that the "militant" Hamas movement has swept the Palestinian elections, winning a majority in the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) and putting themselves in position to form the next government. The current PNA government has resigned. Mahmoud Abbas will remain President, at least for now. The upset was feared, but not expected. The conventional wisdom was that Hamas would gain influence in the government, but would not control it. Pre-Election polls and exit surveys generally showed a slight advantage for Fatah, and indicated that neither side could govern without a coalition. Until a few hours ago, everyone was breathing sighs of relief. Not any more. The current results seem to give Hamas a solid majority. They could form a government without the Fatah. I didn't see that one coming, and I bet nobody else did either. [more]
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Abbas needs his 'Altalena'
The terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, Thursday, Jan. 19, reminds us again of the Palestinian part of the mess that is the ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict. Ten years ago, in the first week of January 1996, at a time of calm and renewed hopes for peace, Prime Minister Shimon Peres made the fateful decision for the Shin Bet to "off" Yihya Ayyash, the notorious "engineer"- the Hamas inventor of the suicide belt. This event led directly to a wave of savage attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in the midst of an election campaign, which lost Peres his 20 point lead and for Benjamin Netanyahu to eventually emerge victorious, fatally slowing the Oslo peace process to an agonizing crawl. [more]
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The Quiet Revolution - Politics of Peace
The big story in Israel and Palestine is one that hardly anyone has noticed. There are two election campaigns going on in parellel, and for the first time in memory, politicians on both sides of the Green line are not competing in bellicosity and aggressiveness. They are almost all trying to show how peaceful they are, and each trying to prove that their method is the best way to bring peace. [more]
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Sharon: warrior or a man of peace at the end?
"I am a Jew, and that is the most important thing for me. Therefore when it comes to security Israel will not make any compromises."
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Crystal Ball 2006
This year Crystal Ball, the list of predictions for the new year, is published a bit late, owing to the pressure of work. Quite frankly, it is just as well, since everyone (including me) would have predicted that Ariel Sharon would be re-elected prime minister of Israel. That seems very unlikely right now. A reminder of our predictive track record until now is here:
Thursday, January 5, 2006
Sharon's illness upsets the Israeli-Palestinian chessboard
The massive cerebral hemorrhage suffered by Israeli PM Ariel Sharon is clearly the most significant even in the recent history of Israeli-Palestinian relations, but nobody is really able to say what the significance is. [more]
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