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Sunday, March 22, 2009

A 'fated' but unnecessary clash?

From Paul Mirengoff at Power Line:
I fear, however, that the Obama administration is fated to clash with Israel. The temptation to seize upon the fact that Netanyahu has been forced to put together a right-wing government that can be demonized in the West gives him too good a pretext for making demands (without concessions) that he knows will be unacceptable to Israel. Obama's intention would be to blow up Netanyahu's coalition, even though it clearly commands majority support among Israelis, and replace it with a government he can push around on behalf of the Palestinians.

In part, I think, this approach would be based on the antipathy I believe Obama has towards Israel, coupled with his Reverand Wright-liberation theology style sympathy for the Palestinians. It might also be based, in part, on the desire to have at least one government he can kick around while he (along with the nation) takes his lumps from Iran, Russia, and other hostile nations he seems so eager to appease.
I fear that Paul is correct and that's one reason that Netanyahu is trying to bring Ehud Barak and the Labor party into his coalition. We'll know on Tuesday whether that is going to happen, but I'm going to return to a prediction I made earlier.

Haaretz reports this morning that Ehud Barak is going to leave the Labor party if they turn down Netanyahu. I'm going to predict that story is correct and that Barak will be Defense Minister regardless of whether Labor goes into the government.

I'll go a step further: Under the Knesset rules, for a party to split, at least one third of the faction must leave. The Labor party is supposedly split 6-6 with Yitzchak Herzog being the deciding Knesset member. Each side suspects that the other will split the party if they lose. My guess is that if Barak loses the vote on Tuesday, he will bring 4-6 MK's with him (he needs at least four) and will join the Likud. One of those MK's - surprisingly - will be Histadrut (General Federation of Labor) head Ofer Eini. If the Post is correct, by the way, there are seven MK's vehemently opposed, but Israel Radio reported that Herzog is the decisive vote, so presumably it's six opposed and not seven.

Read Paul's entire post. He has a very perceptive take on the likelihood that Obama and Netanyahu will be at each other's throats.

Oh and here's an interesting tidbit buried at the end of the JPost article:
The press reported over the weekend that Netanyahu told Kadima leader Tzipi Livni in a meeting a week and a half ago that he was willing to bring in either Kadima or Labor into the coalition but not both.
That all but confirms the stories that have abounded since the election that it was Labor that Netanyahu wanted and not Kadima. In the long run, if half of Labor goes into Likud and Kadima rots in opposition, there may not be any opposition by the next elections. Heh.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There would be precedent for Ehud Barak to jump ship from the dying Labor Party. Shimon Peres and Chaim Ramon joined Kadima and those in Labor opposed to Barak are all outside the Israeli political mainstream. If Shaul Mofaz decides to take the right half of Kadima back into the Likud, we could well be looking at a shrunken Left under 20 seats. An enlarged Likud would have around 40. I wonder if Tzipi Livni's figured out what means to her political future.


At 1:37 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Out-going Prime Minister Ehud Olmert lashed out at Labor Sunday for not endorsing the so-called international two-state solution consensus. He appeared to save his anger for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whom he wants to keep out of a Likud-led government. His fit of pique is guaranteed to produce the opposite result.

Who wouldathunk Olmert's final legacy would be to drive Labor into the arms of the Likud?


At 7:28 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


That Olmert story is the front page in the print edition of Monday's JPost. Olmert looks pathetic.


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