Last night I was able to publish a quick diary regarding the Breaking News that the Israeli Government decided rather than have early elections, they would form a national unity government between the two largest parties; Likud - The party of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu which has 27 seats and Kadima - Now the party of the now Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz which has 28 seats in the Israeli Knesset (Parliment).
In that diary, there is some great discussion from some very knowledgable Kossaks about the process which I recommend reading.
Today I wanted to follow up with more analysis and discussion. PLUS I wanted to show reactions from the Israeli Opposition (Labor, Meretz, and Yair Lapid).
First a quick re-cap. Up until last night the Israeli Government was planning on dissolving itself to hold early elections on Sept. 4th 2012 (ahead of October 2013 the original date). Here was a diary I wrote about those elections which showed some information, of course given the news of the day, that diary is irrelevant BUT, some of the info. contained in it will help with some background.
OK.. so on to events of the last day and reactions.
In late meetings yesterday, Kadima - which had been the main opposition party, not too mention the largest party in the Knesset (the Israeli parliment) joined into a National Unity Government with Likud and the Government with it's huge numbers of seats in the Knesset (up to 94 out of 120) cancelled the early elections.
So what is happening today....
Well reactions range from surprised to somewhat hopeful to somewhat negative. First I would like to give the reaction now from Israel's Opposition party Avodah (Labor):
"Does the truth have no value?" asked Labor Party Chair Shelly Yachimovich at a press conference Tuesday on the decision to cancel early elections and establish a wide unity government.Now that Kadima joined the coalition, Yachimovich's Labor which was seeing a small rennissance under her leadership is now the head of the Opposition and as she later said, she feels that's a role that Avodah can play. With the summer protests coming (and with their focus on Social and Economic Justice), Labor indeed does have an opportunity here.
Yachimovich took the podium after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Party Chairman Shaul Mofaz announced that Kadima would be joining the coalition. "Do you believe a single word they say?" Yachimovich asked. ...
...Turning to Mofaz, Yachimovich said that, unlike him, she had never called Netanyahu a liar, and that when criticizing him she had always been respectful, despite the strong ideological polarization.
Nevertheless, she said, Netanyahu was a "right-wing extremist, a capitalist, an old-school Thatcherite."
"And that's what the debate is about – two ideologies: one social-democratic and one capitalistic and violent."
In a swipe at both the new government AND Labor and Meretz. New Party Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid had this to say:
"This is the chance of a lifetime. Without understanding what they were doing, Mofaz and (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu have made us the only alternative for the sane center," the journalist-turned-politician wrote in the letter, which was published following Netanyahu and Mofaz's joint press conference.The Pundits in Israel and the U.S. are also out in full force. Here are a few:
"I know you are disappointed with the past day's developments because as citizens it pains you to see how cynicism has taken over the entire political sphere and how no one is even pretending to care. You are also disappointed because we could already taste it. We already launched our (election) campaign," Lapid wrote.
"I felt the same way for about two hours, and then I realized this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Kadima has gone back to being what it has always been – a part of Likud. Labor and Meretz are on the Left. In one day we have become the only representatives of the sane middle class," the rookie politician told his supporters.
"Twenty-eight mandates are now up for grabs in the center of the political map. They could be ours. You can also add all those who are infuriated by the old and immoral politics we have witnessed (today)."
Bradley Burston in Haaretz writes: Netanyahu's next Israel: Bad for the Right, good for the Jews
This is no longer the elected government of Israel. This is the hand-picked junta of the state of Bullpucky. There is the defense minister whom no one in Israel will vote for, the justice minister whom no one has ever voted for, the foreign minister for whom elections have been a keep-out-of-jail card, and now Mofaz.
It was just last week that Shaul Mofaz telling everyone who would listen, that Netanyahu and Barak were unfit to run this country, inappropriate to meet its social challenges, ill-equipped to deal rationally with the one issue that consumes them, Iran.
Apparently, in exchange for a cabinet post at a time when Kadima is plummeting in polls, Mofaz now concedes that Netanyahu and Barak are at least fit to run Shaul Mofaz.....
.....Keep your eye, especially, on Labor and Meretz and Hadash. And keep your eye, as well, on Rabin Square. Summer is coming in early this year. So are social justice protests. The same protests that the election campaign was meant, in part, to undercut.
Already the rallies have begun.... Speaking at a rally of 1,000 also attended by Labor and Meretz MK's Tzipi Livni (former leader of Kadima) had this to say:
During the rally, which was organized by activists affiliated with last summer's social protest, former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said she came "at the request of these young people, who care about Israel and are willing to fight for its future, and could not tolerate this morning's turn of events.Haaretz editor Aluf Benn had this in his column Formation of Israeli unity cabinet shows Netanyahu blinked first, again
"They deserve politics that are based on principles rather than (Knesset) seats," she said.
In the dead-of-night deal he reached with Kadima chief Shaul Mofaz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acted exactly according to a pattern of behavior established in his current term: avoiding risks at all costs. Netanyahu preferred the 18 months of certainty a unity government provides over going to an elections, despite polls that predicted an easy win.So.... What do we think will happen? My facebook friends in Israel are mixed. Some are positive that this will be ok and will allow Netanyahu to tack to the Center and make deals with Palestinians as well as rein in the religious. Others feel it is destruction of the democratic process where leaders from parties have let down their constituencies.
Netanyahu hates taking chances. He'll always prefer playing it safe and avoiding uncertain situations. As far as he's concerned, the results speak to his favor. Fact is, he's still in power, and will stay there for a long time heading an unbreakable coalition, with Tzipi Livni who used to assault him in her Knesset speeches for his "survival policy," sitting at her Tel Aviv home.
Now, Netanyahu is at his most comfortable. Instead of been dependant on the mood swings of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Likud's right-wing representatives, he has a coalition with two wings, between which he can maneuver. At times he'll break right, at others left, all according to the needs of the moment. He can throw a bone to Lieberman and then to Mofaz; build a settlement and evacuate illegal structures. At times he’ll indicate that war with Iran is near and at others he'll give U.S. President Barack Obama's diplomatic overtures a chance. No politician can dream up of a more perfect situation.
No one knows what is in store and we won't have any idea for a few months what this really will mean but, it is very interesting news.
I invite you all to discuss and most of all speculate but please observe the following:
IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU ARE WELCOME TO DISAGREE WITH ME OR MY OPTIONS BUT BE SPECIFIC AS TO WHY AND LEAVE YOUR OWN PREDICTIONS. PLEASE OBSERVE THE "GOOD GUEST RULES" IN THIS DIARY. STICK TO THE SUBJECT MATTER AND KEEP PERSONAL META GRUDGES OUT. IF YOU CAN'T DO THAT - TAKE A HIKE..