Israel/Palestine: The Politics of a Two-State Solution

  • Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution
  • When Peace Fails: Lessons from Belfast for the Middle East

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Desperation of the Israeli Center-Left

It is with some surprise that it was announced recently that Shaul Mofaz, leader of the Kadima Party, has agreed to step down in favor of former party leader Ehud Olmert. Ehud Olmert, a veteran of the Free Center Party and the Likud on the Israeli Right, followed Sharon into Kadima as his deputy in November 2005. Two months later he took over as party leader when Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke that has left him in a coma since. In the summer of 2006 he led Israel into the Second Lebanon War this time against Hezbollah and the civilian population of southern Lebanon. Following Israel's poor performance in that war he emerged as a virtual lame duck prime minister with an approval rating of only three percent. In late 2008 he was forced to resign because of corruption allegations against him from his time as mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s. Some of the charges proved to be politically motivated and he was acquitted of the worst allegations. But he did not emerge from the trial with his reputation intact, as this op-ed piece in the free newspaper Israel Hayom indicates.  This is the man that the Kadima Party is now pinning its hopes upon? 

After the collapse of Labor starting in late 2000, following the outbreak of the Al-Aksa Intifada in October, Kadima became the new hope of the Israeli Center-Left. The new hope of all those who supported a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Now it looks to receive less than 10 seats in the next Knesset. The Israeli Left should pin its hopes on the Labor Party and the strategy of its leader, Shelli Yachimovich. The Middle East is not yet ripe for peace. Labor should pin its future on other issues so that when the Middle East is ready, Labor and Israel will be ready as well.

Update: Chemi Shalev, the U.S. correspondent of the Israeli newspaper Ha'Aretz, has reported in a briefing call with Americans for Peace Now that there is talk of Olmert heading up a Center-Left bloc consisting of Yair Lapid's new Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, Kadima, and the Israeli Labor Party. Shalev said that nearly all Israeli journalists and political analysts are convinced that no one can stop Netanyahu from forming the next coalition government in January. Here is APN's analyst Yossi Alpher's take on the elections in his usual Q & A column for APN.

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