The recent police recommendation that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for various acts of corruption may well have started the countdown to the long-awaited departure of the man who has spent more time in the prime minister’s office than anyone in Israeli history save David Ben-Gurion. Even jaded observers, like myself, who will not count the slippery and resourceful Netanyahu out until he is out of office must admit that this time it will be difficult for him to survive, as he has vowed, until the end of his current term, which expires in November 2019.
For most Israelis, Netanyahu’s departure will be a welcome event. Read more at LobeLog
On January 19, at the annual Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference, the leader of Israel’s opposition and head of the Zionist Union party, Isaac Herzog, unveiled an alternative approach to the issue of Israel’s nearly 49-year old occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. It has some points that clearly distinguish his policy from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s. But it is short on detail, and includes some ideas that could make the situation even worse.
Upon examination, Herzog’s plan seems likely to garner support among the centrist, center-left and even parts of the center-right Israeli voter base. Given recent polls which show the Yesh Atid party garnering as many seats as Herzog’s Zionist Union and reflect more public confidence in Yair Lapid, the head of Yesh Atid, as a potential Prime Minister than Herzog, this plan must be read, at least in part, as an attempt to bolster Herzog’s position as opposition leader. Read more at FMEP’s blog, Facts On the Ground.
The media in Israel is abuzz with the news that Tzipi Livni will bring her Ha’Tnuah party into a joint ticket with the much larger Labor party. Now there is a tandem that can outpoll Likud, they are saying. The Israeli center just might be able to assert itself in this election.
Permit me to throw some cold water on this excitement. Livni, who has been the lone voice in the current government who has actively supported talks with the Palestinians, is doing this because if she doesn’t, there is a very strong possibility that her party will not get enough votes to remain in the Knesset. Labor leader Isaac Herzog, who has very little international experience, ran for the party leadership based on his commitment to resolving the long-standing conflict with the Palestinians. As the prospective Number Two, Livni gives Herzog some credibility in this regard. Read more at LobeLog
Once again, in his speech Wednesday at the United Nations, President Obama revealed the reduced importance of the Israeli-Palestinian
Obama speaking at last year’s UNGA
conflict on his agenda. He also revealed just how out of touch his entire country is with respect to reality.
The Israel-Palestine conflict was the last specific global issue mentioned by Obama in his address to the UN General Assembly, and his wording was straight out of the playbook. It was also only mentioned briefly and without any hint that the United States would be taking any action at all on the issue. Read more at LobeLog.
While John Kerry was putting on a show in the Mideast, Congress was showing where the US really stands. I elaborate at Lobelog.
Israel may not have a government, but the election settled one thing: both the governing coalition and the opposition will be led by and mostly composed of parties who range from indifference to ending the occupation to outright hostility to the very suggestion. I explore this in Souciant this week.
Happy New Year, everyone. I begin 2013 by reaffirming my point that the right-wing, one-state forces in Israel are taking leadership to frame the conversation in a post-Oslo world. Now it is Naftali Bennett and his HaBayit HaYehudi party leading the way. Bennett, though a zealous nationalist and an orthodox Jew, presents a much more reasonable face which he puts on his outrageous plan for endless occupation and permanent apartheid. And, while we can critique his ideas, we need also to recognize that this sort of thinking is making its way into the political arena–it’s in Israel now, which means it will soon be in Congress and parts of the European right. An alternative needs to be developed and politicized; peace activists need to stop wasting time in the misguided effort to raise Oslo from the dead.