For more than 15 years, it was an axiom in Israeli politics that, like two ships in the same bay, the Labor and Meretz parties either rise together or fall together. In other words, when hope for peace is the dominant theme of the election campaign (e.g., 1992), both parties gain; and when fear and despair are ascendant (1996, 2003), both parties will sink at the polling booths.
In the current election campaign, a new paradigm might be emerging, though, in which Meretz gains at the expense of a withering Labor: Witness the large number of senior figures associated with the Labor Party who are in the process of ‘defecting’ and creating a new left-Zionist movement that will run with and support Meretz in the upcoming elections. The latest news flash from Haaretz (scroll down to Friday at 17:27) reports that Labor MK, Major-General (retired) Ami Ayalon, will be part of this movement as well. There are also rumors that Meretz might recruit Labor/Meimad MK, Rabbi Michael Melchior.
Similarly, the latest polls indicate that while Meretz might increase its strength in the Knesset by 40%, Labor is looking at a decline of 1/3 of its Knesset representation. The following articles add insight into the latest developments:
I concur with your analysis completely. It is a case I think of hoping that no major upset happens between now and the elections. As always, a major security incident in the region results in the Equilibrium in Israeli voters shifting to the right.
Also Labour lost out big time by going into the Kadima coalition, as there were few tangible benefits in terms of advancing peace. Despite protracted negotiations involving mainly Olmert and Livni there is actually little progress on the ground.
The whole settlers enterprise was based on Arik Sharon’s famous maxim: creating facts on the ground. Undeniably this was an extension of the pre-1948 Zionist approach of: one more dunam, one more cow etc.
The reality as Meretz learnt much earlier than Labour is that Israel was sleepwalking in a nightmare scenario and no matter what successive leaders tried, the situation got progressively worse with time. Gradually, Peres, Rabin, and latterly Sharon and Olmert realised that there was no military solution, that independence of Palestine was essential, but it was still a matter of degree.
However, the necessary will to realise a Palestine State alongside Israel exhibited too much vacillation.
My opinion is that Israel and Diaspora Jewry must grasp the nettle and actively assist the Palestinians to create their State. Having brought Israel into existence 60 years ago the expertise is there. Partition was the answer in the 30’s and 40’s and it is still true today.