Israeli Elections 2006
On December 8, 2005, Israeli President Moshe
Katsav disbanded the 120-seat Knesset and ordered national
parliamentary elections for Tuesday, March 28, 2006. In order to
better understand the upcoming elections and their implications
for the peace process, Brit Tzedek is offering our constituents
a number of resources:
- A town hall conference call with Akiva Eldar, chief
political columnist for Haaretz, on Sunday, February 26 at 3pm
EST. Click here for details.
- A chart describing the major political parties across the
spectrum, their leadership, current and projected seats,
positions on the peace process, etc. Click here for A Guide to the Perplexed - Israeli
- Short bios on the top five leaders of the Kadima, Labor,
Likud and Meretz Israeli Political Parties. Click here
- A Fact Sheet on the Israeli electoral system Click here
- A town hall conference call live from Israel with Brit
Tzedek CEO Diane Balser and Washington Representative Rob Levy
- Commentary from key Israeli pundits and political leaders
- An analysis of the election results by Brit Tzedek board
president Marcia Freedman (forthcoming)
- A special section on Brit Tzedek's website including all the
above materials and more... Click here
Israel has already endured four
political shockwaves in recent months:
- On November 9, Labor union leader Amir Peretz upset elder
statesman Shimon Peres to take over the leadership of the
left-wing Labor Party (Peres subsequently left the Labor Party).
- On November 21, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon abandoned the
right-wing Likud Party (of which he was a founding member) to
form the centrist Kadima ("Forward") Party.
- On January 4, 2006, just when things appeared to be settling
down and it seemed likely that Ariel Sharon and Kadima would win
a landslide victory in the coming election, Sharon suffered a
massive, debilitating stroke. With Sharon's incapacitation,
Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert became Acting Prime Minister
and has assumed control over the still-amorphous new party,
raising many questions about its future.
- Finally, on January 25, 2006, the Palestinian legislative
election resulted in a surprising victory for the Palestinian
militant group Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) over the
longtime ruling secular Fatah Party. This has raised anew
concerns for Israeli security, since Hamas is committed to
Israel's destruction and has supported the use of suicide
terrorism against Israel.
For now, the political choice appears to be between Ehud Olmert
and Binyamin Netanyahu. That is, between a partial unilateralist
withdrawal (with continued occupation of those Palestinian lands
that have not been evacuated), and entrenchment in the status
quo - not as an interim condition, but as an actual policy goal.
If the current polls hold up, the most likely scenario appears
to be a victory for Ehud Olmert, who will then lead a
Kadima-Labor coalition which will attempt to implement a series
of unilateral withdrawals from a large portion of the West
If that is the case, however, it is important to note that
Olmert will face an even more difficult task politically than
Sharon did in Gaza. To follow in his mentor's footsteps, Olmert
will have to evacuate many more angry, ideologically committed
settlers from more settlements, covering a much larger swath of
land in Israel's biblical heartland. Olmert's decision to uproot
illegal settlement outposts in Amona and Hebron suggests he may
be willing, perhaps more willing than Sharon, to confront the
West Bank settlers.
Ironically, if Olmert is successful
in this, Ariel Sharon's greatest legacy may prove to be breaking
the back of the settler movement he once fostered and in the
process establishing a precedent for unilateral withdrawal from
much of the occupied territories.
Real peace, however,
can be achieved only through negotiated, mutually accepted
compromises. We must hope that the next Israeli government will
pave the way for negotiations that could lead to the secure and
lasting peace most Israelis and Palestinians dream of.
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance
for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
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