Why do I Support a Right Wing Government

Posted: February 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News, The Left, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

This blog is written from the Left. I try to describe events in the most objective way, but I don’t hide my views. I believe that our first political obligations as Israelis is to do all that we can to end the forty two years old occupation of the West Bank, and to stop the siege on Gaza, which is another form of occupation. I also think that racism is becoming a major problem in Israeli society, and that we must do everything in our power to fight it. These are the principles I see in front of me when I consider which government is best for Israel.

The options range between bad and worse. The parties that advocate a full withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and who are truly committed to democratic values, got three percent of the Jewish vote in the last elections. Three.

There are two other parties which might move the peace process forward, given the right conditions: Labor and Kadima. Both are far from being perfect -  Labor’s leader, Ehud Barak, thinks that there is no partner to negotiate with on the Palestinian side. I heard him say so with my own ears. He thinks we should wait. In that sense, he is not that far from Bibi.

Kadima, which was formed by PM Ariel Sharon and which promoted a unilateral solution to the conflict in the previous elections, has somehow turned into the only major force advocating talks with the Palestinians right now. This is extremely strange, especially given the fact that most of party’s MKs come from the Likud. Kadima sounds more dovish than Labor these days, but they have yet to prove that they can lead the peace process. Making real progress – not just meaningless talks – is an extremely hard task, as both Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon discovered. The coalition will be under enormous pressure, the ruling party might suffer from mutinies (like the one which forced Sharon out of the Likud), and the leaders’ own life might be in danger. I’m not sure Livni’s Kadima is up to it yet.

And there is this little problem with the elections results: Kadima can’t form a government, so what we are left with is two options: a narrow right wing government or a “national unity” government composed of both Likud and Kadima. This latter can take two forms: a “rotating government”, with Netanyahu as PM in the first two years and Livni in the following two (like Kadima wants), or just Netanyahu as PM (like the Likud wants).

What many people don’t seem to realize is that both “National unity” governments will really be right-wing governments. In order to balance Kadima’s influence in his cabinet, Netanyahu will take into his government other right wing parties (probably Israel Beitenu and some of the religious parties). Cabinet positions in Israel are allocated based on the number of seats the party has, so the Likud and its right wing partners will have a majority in the government, thus blocking completely any opportunity to push the peace process forward. To make things worse, we will have a “split opposition” situation: Labor, Meretz, the non-Zionist left and some right wing parties will be the ones left out of the government. They will never be able to act as a united block on the major issues.

Now consider the other option: Kadima staying in the opposition and Netanyahu forming a narrow right wing government. Kadima will be pushed to the left, in order to represent an alternative to the government. Netanyahu will have to deal with the international pressure on his own. He, who always claimed to have all the answers – to terrorism, to our relations with our Arab neighbors, to the economy – will have to act, not just talk. It will put the entire system in motion.

Finally, consider these two facts of Israeli politics:

a. All Right wing PMs – Begin, Shamir, Sharon, Netanyahu – were forced to make progress in the peace process. I guess that in the PM office you have to face reality. And there is only one party that evacuated settlements in Israel – the Likud.

b. In the last two decades, every time we had a national unity government, the Right got stronger in the next elections, while in both cases where a narrow right wing coalition was in place (under PM Shamir in ’90-’92, Netanyahu ’96-’99), the government ended up falling, and in the next elections the Left won decisively.

My choice is clear. The right won the elections. Let the right rule.

OBAMA, IT SEEMS, PREFERS A “NATIONAL UNITY” GOVERNMENT. This is understandable. A right wing government will lead to a confrontation between the WH and Jerusalem. This does not serve the new president’s image well. He would rather have Livni as foreign Minister than Avigdor Liberman. But the only thing this sort of government will give Obama is the usual photo-op in an international summit at some exotic location. We had plenty of these to know they don’t mean a thing on the streets of Hebron. If Obama wants solutions, real ones, some sort of confrontation with Israel is inevitable. Better do it when there is a real opposition in Israel to back him up.

3 Comments on “Why do I Support a Right Wing Government”

  1. 1 Gaza » Blog Archive » Promised Land: Why do I Support a Right Wing Government said at 1:32 am on February 20th, 2009:

    [...] fousesquawk wrote an interesting post today on Promised Land: Why do I Support a Right Wing GovernmentHere’s a quick excerpt…all that we can to end the forty two years old occupation of the West Bank, and to stop the siege on Gaza, which is another form of occupation. [...]

  2. 2 Promised Land » Blog Archive » It’s Going to Get Ugly said at 3:19 am on March 6th, 2009:

    [...] I wrote here before, I believe that a Right-wing narrow government is a better option now than a [...]

  3. 3 Promised Land » Blog Archive » Liberman starts his first fire said at 2:25 pm on April 1st, 2009:

    [...] I wrote that things will be clearer with a Netanyahu right-wing government, what I meant was exactly this: [...]