From Meretz USA’s e-newsletter on Friday, February 13, 2009
Three days after the Israeli elections, it is a time of licking wounds for the Israeli left.
Notwithstanding Kadima’s one-seat advantage over the Likud, 28-27, there is certainly no reason for Kadima or the center-left to celebrate, as the final results put Israel’s right-wing in firm control of the Knesset, with 65 out of 120 seats. These results do not bode well for either peace or civil rights in Israel.
The odds-on favorite to become Israel’s next Prime Minister, therefore, is Bibi Netanyahu of Likud, whether this is at the helm of a purely right-wing government, or in partnership with Kadima. A government based on Likud and Kadima, though in some respects more palatable as it would diminish the influence of Avigdor Lieberman, could still not reasonably be expected to vigorously advance peace with the Palestinians.
Just as sad is the vote tally of the two parties who brought the Oslo agreement to Israel 16 years ago. From their 1992 election totals of 44 and 12 seats, respectively, Labor and Meretz are looking at 13 and 3 this time around. Earlier this week in Haaretz, Akiva Eldar offered a closer look at why the Meretz party lost its initial, promising campaign momentum and ended up suffering a stinging electoral setback.
Talk has already begun regarding a possible realignment on the Israeli left.