Friday, March 31, 2006

The Israeli Elections

This blog was of the view that Ariel Sharon's vision for the territorial redemarcation of Israel represented the best chance for that country's security in a turbulent region. The redrawing of the borders would ensure the demographic sustainability of the Jewish majority state. While Sharon subsequently fell into coma, this weeks election results conclusively establishes that Sharon's vision is destined to reshape Israel and by extension the Middle East.

Sharon and Olmert had formed the centrist Kadima party in November, 2005. Kadima won 28 seats of the 120 seat knesset in this week's elections under the system of proportional representation. While significantly lower than the initial forecast of the opinion polls, Kadima is nonetheless poised to form the next government in coalition with the Labor party that won 20 seats on its center-left welfare platform

The hard-line Likud came a humiliating fifth place with just 11 seats. Netanyahu's Likud had hoped to cash in on Jewish fears in the aftermath of the Hamas victory at the Palestinian polls in January. It had vociferously opposed any withdrawal from the West Bank and campaigned on a neo-Thatcherite welfare-cutting agenda.The Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party with 13 seats and the Ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu with 12 seats are likely to back Olmert.

Israel will have a coalition government as it has had since 1949. While Kadima is likely to drive the peace agenda, Labor is likely to define the social and economic policy of the new Government on a leftist platform.

Olmert intends to redefine Israel's borders by 2010 with or without Palestinian concurrence. The plan would uproot 70,000 Jewish settlers from the West Bank and retain territory west of the 450 mile security barrier that cuts deep into the West Bank. This would include 250,000 Israeli settlers within Israeli jurisdiction, retain control of East Jerusalem and annex agricultural land. The proposal would still allow for a contiguous, sizeable and heavily populated Palestinian state. The Israeli military would remain in the evacuated areas until a comprehensive peace deal is signed with the Palestinians. The Sharon agenda therefore remains salient.

The Palestinian authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas has now called for the resumption of the negotiation process. Meanwhile, Ismail Haniya, the incoming Hamas Prime Minister has insisted that Israel can not fix the borders unilaterally. Kadima's plans to remove Jewish settlements is likely to be welcomed by the international quartet of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. Tony Blair had commended Olmert's victory as one that "changes the shape of Israeli politics". Israel is in for eventful times.

12 comments:

doubtinggaurav said...

Jaffna,

I think the sensible step for world community will be to cut off aid from Hamas.


Regards

Jaffna said...

Gaurav,

Hamas continues to advocate the destruction of the Jewish state. It is branded as a terrorist outfit both in Israel and in Washington. I can not see any western aid being chaneled to the Palestinian authority as long as Hamas is in control. Even the EU does not plan to do so.

Sa'udi and Iranian funds would continue to flow but I am not sure about the disbursement mechanism. Israel continues to control the tax and customs revenue which it can withhold if it chooses to. Hamas is in a week wicket in light of these financial constraints.

Vishal said...

Why the Indian bloggers cant bring themselves to talk about the Maoist insurgency that now controls 90,000 sq km of the nation.

Jaffna said...

Visk

This blog has covered the Maoist insurrection - several times. I agree - it is a huge issue but I disagree that they administer 90,000 square miles. They are bandits that had once been trained by the LTTE on mine technology. They run no administration, provide no services and have no standing. But I agree, they should be eliminated. In true Maoist fashion - have their hands tied and shot by firing squad! I somethings feel that if the Lon Nol regime in Cambodia had similarly eliminated the Khmer Rouge in the very early 1970s without due regard for human rights - it would have saved Cambodia the genocide that killed 1.5 million. Likewise with this Maoist rabble.

Best

history_lover said...

I hope that muslim countries continue to support the Hamas led Palestinian government.

libertarian said...

Jaffna, gaurav, history_lover: I hope that Hamas gets a fair shot ... at messing it up like I think they will. At least they will not have anyone else to blaim.

doubtinggaurav said...

Libertarian,

I agree, Palestinians have elected Hamas and they should be ready for consequence.

My only concern is that any aid to Hamas will in effect be used to fund terrorism, because

1) Aid is fungible

2) Even though most people do not realize the significance of cliche The terrorism is Global, which means there is no guarantee that any help for Hamas will not end up hurting India through a most convoluted path.

Atanu, in the past has written about it here, here, here and here

Regards

Jaffna said...

Gaurav

I think the likelihood of international aid going to a Hamas administration (except for Sa'udi and Iran) is unlikely. And Israel is likely to prevent the customs revenue it collects on the borders of the West Bank and Gaza from being used for administrative purposes of the Palestinian Authority - which is dependent on this revenue. So Hamas is likely to face financial constraints unless it backtracks on its call for the destruction of Israel - which is unlikely given Israel's plan to defacto redemarcate its borders. So the immediate future looks hazy for the Palestinian Arabs.But I can not predict the medium term scenario.

Best

shame on you said...

history_lover -
your comment weakens the truism that all muslims don't support terrorism.

Jaffna said...

Dear Shame-on-you,

While I do think that Hamas is terrorist, I also feel that History_Lover is entitled to his views. He is probably concerned at Israel's grap of territory and the fait accompli that it presents to the Palestinian Arabs. Hence the need for a credible administration in the West Bank that would at least stand up to Israel.

Not that it would make a difference to the Israeli plan. I think that Hamas would be the last nail that seals the Palestinian coffin.

This said, History_Lover is entitled to his views.

Best regards

W.NM. said...

Jaffna,

I have read this blog for several months now, (yet never posted for fear of interupting excellent discussions) and wanted to comment that this is one of the best, most civil blogs out there. Even when commenters disagree, they are still civil.

Keep up the great work and give my regards to Primary Red,

W.NM.

Jaffna said...

Dear W.NM,

Thank you for the words of appreciation. I will indeed convey your regards to Primary Red. He is quite the executive traveler these days helping the corporate UAE further increase their million dollar profits. I will not be surprised if he is given honorary citizenship in one of the Persian Gulf states :-)

Best wishes

Followers

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