Sunday, December 16

The Upcoming Israeli Elections and the Palestinians

English: Portrait of Avigdor Lieberman עברית: ...
English: Portrait of Avigdor Lieberman עברית: צילום של אביגדור ליברמן (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Shas party logo
Shas party logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rabbi Ovaid Yosef
Rabbi Ovaid Yosef (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Israeli Elections are looming in a couple of weeks on 22nd January 2013. There are so many senior members of the various parties that are leaving their traditional parties and forming new parties or just crossing over to other parties. This puts an extra burden on the voter to decide for whom to vote. Israel has a proportional representation system and this creates a situation of a number of small parties contesting for seats in the Knesset. There is the extreme right which overlaps with the center right, such as Yisrael Beitenu of Avigdor Lieberman who is being indicted for fraud and breach of trust by the Attorney-General, Yehuda Weinstein.  In a statement, Mr Lieberman said he was stepping aside to enable him to clear his name even though he was not legally obliged to resign. “Even though I know I did not commit any crime… I decided to resign from my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and remove my immunity,” he said. “Following 16 years of investigations against me, I will now be able to end this matter quickly and without delays, and finally clear my name.”

This will probably have a positive affect on Likud-Yisrael Beitenu by increasing their support. Avigdor Lieberman has been under investigation since 1996 and there has been no indictment against him even under the previous Attorney-General Meni Mazouz. The investigations against him over the years never brought anything conclusive to accuse him of bribery and money laundering.These charges were dismissed. The indictment against Lieberman will be viewed by his right-wing supporters and that of the Likud as turning Lieberman into a victim by the "left-wing" justice system in Israel. The fact that the Minister of Justice, Yakov Neeman and the Judge-President, Asher Dan Grunis of the High Court are notably right wing. The latter is even a settler in the West Bank. They will ask: Why indict Avigdor Lieberman now before he is re-elected with Benjamin Netanyahu after the elections which this duo are destined to win? They will view the indictment as a conspiracy against Lieberman for his extreme views and not for his misdemeanors or suspected crimes. In this country you give a dog a bad name and he is exalted. 

When Arye Deri, of the Shas Party, was Minister of the Interior in the middle 1990s, he was found guilty of bribery and corruption and served time in prison. There were many supporters, including Rabbi Ovadia Yosef the spiritual head of this ultra-Orthodox Party, who believed that he was innocent. They would not accept the judgement of the High Court. This resulted in Shas being viewed as the poor, victimized underdog and it was the "Ashkenazi establishment" that trumped up criminal charges against Deri. Today he is returning to the Shas list for the Knesset after having "redeemed" himself of moral turpitude by the time factor and his 3 year prison term which he served. It is very possible that with Lieberman's indictment, the right-wing will gain points and will portray itself as victim of the "hostile" left-wing and the anti-Semites of the world who are on a hate campaign against Israel. This is the kind of stuff that wins votes for the extreme right-wing and right-wing of Israel. For them it is a blessing in disguise. 

The opposition center parties and left of center are making capital of Lieberman's indictment, but this will be very short-lived and may even boomerang against them. The center parties and left of center parties are part of a great circus with some senior members of the Labor Party and Kadima deserting to the new parties of Tzippi Livni (Tnua) and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid). This strengthens the right wing even more. The Lieberman Case will also strengthen the right wing even further for the reasons mentioned earlier in this article. 

This election will be fought mostly on economic issues. The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is moribund. There is no word mentioned in this election campaign as to how to improve Israel's image in the world or to get the peace process back on track which could only benefit all sides. Any mention of the peace process by any party or any ideas put forward by a party that looks beyond economics is bound to be a vote loser. All the parties from the extreme right to the left of center know this and have decided to place it on the back burner. 

It is true that Hamas is no partner for peace by their own admittance and violent terrorist actions. One needs to read Khaled Meshal's Speech when he visited Gaza and this leaves one with no sense of illusion of his hate for Israel and the Jewish People. This goes for his followers as well. 


President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has no power over Gaza despite supporting Gaza during the "Pillar of Defense" War. Perhaps there is really nobody on the Palestinian side with whom a peace treaty can be signed. Just after the war in Gaza, Palestine's status in the UN was upgraded  .

Mahmoud Abbas had stated that he has no power in Gaza. If this is the case, then how could he negotiate a peace treaty representing all the Palestinians. It is absurd! 

The world supports a two state solution, but de facto, Palestine consists of two states: Hamastan (Gaza) and Fatahstan (West Bank). The leaders of Palestine are really Siamese  twins with two heads and joined together by the waist. The two heads hate each other, the common blood supply goes through both heads and the common body. The blood supply that keeps them alive is the common hate for Israel and the Jews. Under these conditions it would be impossible to negotiate for a two-state solution when Palestine is already divided. The upgrading of Palestine (Does this include Hamastan?) is a total farce played out  in the UN by the majority of its members. What about human rights in Palestine apart from opposition to the Israeli occupation? In Gaza there is no human rights and in the West Bank the human rights of Palestinians is also in doubt. 

There will never be a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israeli conflict. In Palestine there are two states already and there is nothing mentioned in the moribund Oslo Accords, Road Map  or Geneva Convention.    

It looks as if this conflict is going to fester for years unless something drastic happens to Hamas. Either they must change their ideas about destroying Israel and recognize Israel's right to exist or they must be written off the map in the way that the Allies destroyed Nazi Germany. There is no hope for the Palestinians for a better life and building the infrastructure for a progressive, democratic Palestinian state while Hamas rules the roost in Gaza and threatens the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. If Hamas gains control of the West Bank then we are in for a disaster and a possible war. 

The situation is complex and there are no easy solutions. Our hope for a solution to this conflict is to weaken Hamas and encourage a moderate, progressive Palestinian leadership who will be prepared to make peace with Israel and phase out the occupation. Somehow there does not seem to be a light at the end of the dark tunnel of hate.

Mahmoud Abbas does NOT represent Gaza nor has he the power to negotiate with Israel for peace without the support of Hamas which he will never get.  

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