A bad week for Ehud Barak is a good week for the peace process

Posted: October 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, The Left, The Settlements | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

MK Daniel Ben Simon’s political career suffered from bad luck from the start: after joining the wrong party (Labor) at the wrong time (on the verge of its worst defeat ever), he set his “major press conference” for noon today – at the exact moment when the first report on the suicide of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s legendary manager, Moni Fanan, arrived. Ben-Simon, a journalist for Haaretz until a year ago, probably understood immediately that his “dramatic decision” to resign from the post of Labor’s whip won’t get much attention, but still, he went through with it. What else could he do?

But in a year or two or three, people might say that this was the beginning of the end for Netanyahu.

The weakest link in the government, the Labor party, is about to fall apart. The party is practically split into three already: four out of its 13 MKs didn’t join the coalition and are waiting for a fifth member, which would allow them to officially split and form a new party; another three (Herzog, Braverman and Ben Simon) are in opposition to Barak but don’t want to split the party just yet; and four are still loyal to the coalition, but are gradually beginning to get nervous. The 13th member is MK Shely Yechimovitz, which has her own agenda, and is loyal only to the union strongman, Ofer Eini.

Complicated? That’s the way things have been in the Labor since the dawn of Zionism. It is enough to say that Barak is feeling the heat, especially after all the humiliation he suffered last week regarding his enormous expense bill in Paris.

So, what’s next? When right wing leaders are in troubles, they demand to bomb Gaza; Leftists usually talk about the peace process and the settlements (and then bomb Gaza). Barak and Netanyahu are perfectly coordinated, so my guess is that we will soon see Israel agreeing to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, maybe even accepting some sort of deal on the settlements, and evacuation an outpost or two. Will it change anything for real? Not in the near future. Netanyahu has pushed the Palestinians into the corner, Obama is busy with the health Care battle, and all the momentum from last spring was lost. As Ben Simon learned again today, it’s all about timing.

This Government

Posted: March 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The weeks leading to Passover are always the busiest of the year for Israeli newspapers, mine included, so I don’t get to update the blog as often as I would like to.

Naturally, the big political news of the week is Labor joining the Likud government. I discussed more than once the possibility of Kadima joining Netanyahu, but to most people’s surprise, Tzipi Livni stood firm, and left the Likud with an extreme right wing coalition. Netanyahu’s conclusion from his failed first term in the PM’s office was that this sort of government can’t survive, so he did everything in his power to have Labor as his left cushion. And still, he would have never made it unless the man at the head of the Labor party was Ehud Barak.

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