A quick post on the Israeli elections, in which a Sharon-less Kadima dropped from an originally projected 40+ seats to 28...
Kadima has 28 seats; Labor has 20. The Arab parties have 10, and Meretz has 4. 28 + 20 + 10 + 4 = 62 seats. You need 61 for a majority in the Knesset. Does this somehow not scare you, and if not, why not?!
Meanwhile, had it been the same numbers, but Sharon leading the charge, I'd be saying precisely the reverse. Ariel Sharon, for all people (including myself) may have disagreed with his policies, had a certain trustworthiness in at least one aspect: Were something needed to be done to protect the State of Israel and its Jewish identity, he would have done it - no matter the political consequences. Ehud Olmert, on the other hand, may be as equally dedicated to the State and its people, but he is first and foremost a politician - one who I do not trust to carry out operations such as "Defensive Shield" or similar if the need arises.
The only issue that will hold back this new government from doing whatever it feels like will be the split between Kadima and the others over fiscal policy; if Olmert caves to Peretz's demands, the country will head to financial ruin, and Olmert knows it. His only other option is to go with Shas, Likud, UTJ, and the Pensioner's Party, and strike deals all over - but then his desired disengagement will be difficult to accomplish. Instead, he'll probably go with the left, and cave somewhat to Peretz, leading to disaster in every major aspect of the State.
Gotta agree with pretty much everything you just said. The situation sucks.ReplyDelete
Don't get all dooms-dayish just yet. Peretz is definitly in a pickle, that's for sure. He will have to decide what to sacrifice. Peretz has stated that all he wants and will accept as part of a Kadima coolition is the Treasury position. Olmert is a Bibi capitalist fan. He will not give this up easily. If Peretz stays staunch in this then he will not make it easy on Olmert to make a left-wing centrist coolition. If Olmert decides internal financial security is more important, he will bite the bullet, make a right wing coolition and have to face the facts that no disengagement will be passed while he is in power.ReplyDelete
The worst scenario would be, yet also a possibility, is if Olmert decides his disengagement platform is the most important aspect of his agenda and attempts to form an all left-wig coolition which included, out of necessity, the Arab parties. If that happens, Israel will have a coolition that is very similar to the one that was used to pass the Oslo Accords through. However, the Israeli people are not so naive now. Even the far left have seen Oslo fail. The Peace Now favoratists make up a minute percentage of the population as seen by the miniscule showing for the left on election day. They have seen the Intifada. They will not accept this kind of coolition again. I truely believe that if Olmert tries this move, there will literally be a revolt in the country. There will be millions upon millions of people in the country. They will shut the country down, and force the government into the referendum that they really don't want. This will shut the government down. You will also see a hell of a lot more soldiers disobeying orders and refuse to carry out the disengagement having been fresh off the emotional roller-coaster of this past disengagement. Essentially, the people will force the government to collapse and go to elections.
Basically, this is a very complex situation for Olmert to have gotten himself into. Unlike Sharon, I don't think Olmert has the guts or the balls to carry out his plans in the face of such opposition. He will most likely be forced into a position where he'll have to combine a left and right wing coolition; like Labor, Shaas, Ichud Leumi or Yisroel Beiteinu. I don't think Shaas will serve in a coolition with Meretz. In this case, Olmert will have to choose; economy Vs his plans for "security". Seeing the horrific fallout from proposing a disengagement would be, I think Olmert, to save his political career (that's all he really cares about anyways), will shelve his plans of disengagement and continue on with Bibi's financial plans and not allow Peretz to take control of the economy. In that case, you will see Olmert be forced to form an all right-wing centrist coolition.
That's my thoughts on the matter, anyway. Sorry it was so long.
Olmert pro-market? Not so fast.ReplyDelete
There's something else about Sharon that should be credited. He was a master politician. Saying that someone else isn't at that level is no insult.
Olmert will make any deal he can to form a government, and will take the country backwards towards financial disaster - high inflation, high unemployment, etc., in order to push through his "consolidation" plan. The problem he will have though, is that he has to pay off both left and right wing parties to do so. And, believe it or not, the Arab parties won't necessarily go along with the "consolidation". They know that it means giving up their dream of going back to complete '67 borders, and they aren't known for accepting compromises, even for their own benefit. In any case, political pundits are already speculating that we will have elections in another year and a half. (Pretty pathetic, just two days after the elections!)ReplyDelete
Some different arithmetic:ReplyDelete
3 Arab parties 10
That equals 69 votes in favor of increased governmental spending on all kinds of social programs -- and a lot of Kadima MKs aren't fiscal conservatives, either. The real message from this election is the complete and total rejection of Netanyahu's economic policies. They weren't very consistent with Torah values, but neither was the hyperinflation of the 1980s.
The best person to be finance minister under the circumstances might be, believe it or not, Shimon Peres. He was the single person most responsible for saving the Israeli economy in the 1980s, and may be the only person in Kadima with enough respect both in the secular left and the religious to be accepted. Peretz might not forgive him for deserting, though.
Minor changes in the final count, because of the addition of votes from the IDF:ReplyDelete
Kadima went from 28 to 29, Likud from 11 to 12, and Meretz from 4 to 5. One of the Arab parties went from 4 to 3, Shas from 13 to 12, and Israel Our Home from 12 to 11. That makes Ezzie's "get out of the territories" total 63, not 62, and my "fiscal non-restraint" total 68, not 69.
OC - The only reason I disagree with you (and don't apologize for good comments) is that Olmert seems more the type to go for the legacy, and rationalize that peace will bring financial stability with it. Then there's David's point.ReplyDelete
David - Absolutely. I've said as much many times in the past about Sharon.
WBM - I wouldn't be surprised. It's sadly typical.
CH - Think about it - that's a huge swing to the right on fiscal policy from what it used to be. This is a socialist country that is slowly learning that socialism stinks.
Ezzie, there's one problem with your disagreement. Olmert is no Sharon. Sharon was able to carry out the Disengagement because of who he was, and many analysts agree on that point. Olmert does not have that kind of strength and will power. First of all, he's already going against his own party if he gives into Peretz's demand for the Treasury seat. Remember, Kadima is Likud in a different name. Even if Olmert isn't a 100% Bibi capitalist. He's not going to go against the fiscal momentum that Bibi's implementations created, and many people in the party won't let him. Olmert may want the legacy, but, in this istance, he's more of a Clinton than a Sharon. The country won't let him carry through with his plans. Pure and simple. Again, winning by 9 seats does not a mandate create. The more I'm seeing the infighting and political squabbling that's happening before the cooalition is even in the making yet, the more I think that there is a possibility that this government will not survive for very long. Olmert may want the legacy, but he's not the kind of person who's going to be able to see it through in the face of all the obstacles he'll face. Even if he does give into Peretz's demands in order to get him into the coolition, he only has 49 seats. It will be political suicide for him to create a staunch left wing coolition. His only options will be to bring in a couple of right wing parties, and they will shut his disengagement plans down. Look at Olmert's history. He's not going to sacrifice his political career for his "vision".ReplyDelete
This IS his political career though. I think he's very much a Clinton - he recognizes that the only policy he can count on a majority for is disengagement - and it will win him international acclaim. People don't recognize economic successes as easily, particularly in a country so accustomed to socialism. I don't think it's too suicidal to create a LW-coalition, but worst comes to worst he can take Shas, not the Arabs and Meretz, and when he wants to carry out the disengagement he'll get the other votes anyway.ReplyDelete
Ezzie, I'm sorry, but you're wrong on that one. He can NOT count on the majority for the disengagement because the way it stands right now, he doesn't have the votes. Again, even IF , for the sake of argument, he formed an all left wing coolition, the results will not be the same as the last time it happened; in 1993 with Oslo. The country is very much jaded and has become extremely educated on such practices since 1993.ReplyDelete
Let me speak plainly. If another disengagement was planned in the next year or two as Olmert foresees, you will not see another Gaza on TV. You will see an Amona, on both sides. Olmert has made it very clear what he feels about settlers, and those that try to protect them and protest for them. Only, the next disengagement will be Amona times 10. Amona was filled with a couple thousand teens protesting over NINE houses. The next disengagement will be 20,000 people blockading a settlement like Pisgaot that is a little over 200 houses. And, Olmert's talking about like 60,000 people to be moved. How many Amonas do you think the country and the government will stand before they're forced to call it off? I can't put it more plainly than that. There will be civil war if he tries to carry through his plan as he sees it now. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
Again, have to disagree. After what happened in Gaza and Amona, and the terrible way in which people from Gaza have been taken care of since, many people (with families) simply aren't willing to stand there next time around. Last time, the hope was "this isn't really going to happen". This time, everyone knows it will - they'll move out right before it's supposed to happen. (This is based on speaking with people from there, not just conjecture.)ReplyDelete
OK, OK, ez, we're starting to go in circles here. I'm not speaking out of conjecture. I'm speaking out of actually being here. And, I hate to pull out that trump card, but I feel that I must in this type of situation. Were you here in the months, weaks, and days leading up to the Disengagement this summer? My father-in-law served as one of the leading officers in planning the strategy of the Disengagement, and even he has stated he will protest and disobey orders to carry out another disengagement. This is a man who is up for officer of the year. Seriously. Trust me. I know when I'm talking about here. It doesn't matter if a few of the settlers say that they will not be so jaded next time around doesn't mean it'll stop the country from going to war against it, or from 20,000 people from showing up on their door step to stop the disengagement from happening. I did not say that the settlers won't stand for it. The Gazan settlers were not involved in much of the protesting this past year. I'm talking about the country. The country will not let it happen. Seriously, no offense, but talking to people from 6,000 miles away is not the same as feeling the pulse of what's going on within the country. The country will not let another disengagement happen. It won't survive it.ReplyDelete
Most of the country is FOR the disengagement, period. Sure, none of the people who live there are - but that doesn't make a difference. I'm also talking of speaking to people face-to-face, and I understand you're there as well. When push comes to shove, though, how many people will remain - those who have children, families, more to worry about? The 'country' couldn't care less, and these people know it. They're mostly going to move - as late in the game as possible - but they will move in advance to get their lives settled. There will be many soldiers like your FIL who will refuse to take part, and there will be others to take their place. Those who live there and have lived there for a decade or more are being forced to choose: Make a statement which likely won't work or tearfully move on to the next stage of their life, and they will mostly choose the latter. It's simply not worth it to them to stay as individuals or groups - we've seen it doesn't work.ReplyDelete
Hopefully, it won't come to that. I hope I'm wrong - I just don't think so.
Ez, I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. You're wrong, but you are entitled to your opinion. We'll just have to see what happens.ReplyDelete