The fact that Tzipi Livni and Kadima sneaked ahead of Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu by one seat in the Israeli election has allowed some analysts to spin the election as good news for the beleagured peace process. I don’t see it that way.
Its true that Livni favours trying for a two-state solution, while Netanyahu is not keen. But that’s where the good news for the peace-camp ends. There has been a big swing to the right, which will make it significantly easier for Likud to form a coalition than for Kadima.
Above all, it was a disastrous night for the left-of-centre parties. Labour were forced into fourth position, behind the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu – a humiliating result for the party of Peres and Golda Meir. And Mertez, the most explicitly pro-peace party, were almost wiped out – they have gone down from five seats to three seats.
These two parties probably lost votes to Livni and Kadima, as she became the obvious “stop Netanyahu” candidate. But Meretz probably also paid a price for equivocating on the Gaza war. Faced with the overwhelming popularity of the invasion in Israel, Meretz initially endorsed the attack – compromising their principles and alienating some of their natural voters. As a result, they have now even be overtaken by the “communist” party, Hadash, which opposed the war from the beginning.
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