MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The myth of the right wing bloc
Numerous myths have been generated about the recent Israeli elections. The first myth that is repeated very often is that the rise of the right was due to the recent Operation Cast Lead in Gaza and the international reaction to it (see here). There is not much truth in this.
Almost every opinion poll over the last year or so showed approximately the same results as were obtained in the election. No less than seven polls taken in the week before Operation Cast Lead forecast victory for the Likud and the right, giving the Likud 29-36 mandates versus 23-30 for the Kadima party and 9-14 for the Israel Labor party. Not one poll showed the Kadima party getting more votes than the Likud. In the last weeks of the election, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party gained voters at the expense of the Likud and Kadima party. The parties of the so-called "right wing bloc" had the same majority of 65 mandates approximately as they got in the actual election. The only difference was that that there were a few more mandates for Lieberman and a few less for Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
US in Afghanistan: Disaster in the making
Remember that you read it here. Rarely is it possible to see almost certain disaster looming so clearly and brightly ahead. In a decade, the bit of news to be discussed here may be considered the most important foreign policy blunder of the Obama administration and perhaps the most important blunder of the United States in the first decade of the new century, outclassing the Iraq war in every way. it is reasonably US President Barack Obama is evidently in earnest about his campaign pledge to focus on Afghanistan. The US is probably going to be sending 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, bringing the US total to 55,000 and the grand total with non-US troops to 87,000. [more]
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Bibi Netanyahu won't beat Hamas
Benjamin Netanyahu is almost certainly the next Prime Minister of Israel. In common with both other leaders to emerge from the last election, Avigdor Lieberman and Tzipi Livni, he has vowed to eliminate the Hamas regime in Gaza. But it is unlikely that he, or any other Israeli leader can do so. Here's why. [more]
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Israeli elections: What happened?
In a hotly contested election, Israelis gave the largest number of votes to the center-left Kadima party, but the largest bloc of votes went to the Israeli right. The results of the Israeli elections are heartbreaking for those of us who hope and work for peace - Heartbreaking and inevitable. The decision is clear, even if neither left nor right will admit it, both Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni must know the truth. [more]
Monday, February 9, 2009
Israeli elections: Surprise?
Most commentators have focused on the shift to the right evident in Israeli election surveys. That is not really the big story. This big story is not how in how people will vote, but in those who do not vote. If the estimates are correct, about half of Israeli Arabs will not vote (see here) and a large proportion of the Jewish population as well. Of course, as Israeli Arabs withdraw from the political process, one byproduct is that the Knesset elected by Israeli Jews will increasingly reflect right-wing Jewish sentiment. With no votes, you get no seats in parliament. [more]
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Lieberman: Israel careening to the right
Throughout much of the Middle East, repressive and corrupt regimes are guarded and protected by the specter of even worse government. Don't say "It could be worse" - it will be. The semi-police state with sham elections or no elections is protected by the threat of a much worse Islamist regime in far too many countries. Israel may soon blend into the political scenery of the Middle East. What's worse than a Benjamin Netanyahu administration? A second Benjamin Netanyahu administration. And what's worse than that? Avigdor Lieberman. Polls predict as many as 31 Knesset seats for the right wing Likud party, but they also predict 16-21 seats for Lieberman's "Yisrael Beiteynu" ("Israel is our home") party. Israeli opinion surveys generally under-rate right wing parties. [more]
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