Tuesday, April 04, 2006

From pro-Likud U.S. propagandist: Likud didn't really lose

The director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute, Likud propagandist Meyrav Wurmser has published an analysis of the recent Israeli elections in the NRO ( Should I mention that she is also the wife of shady neocon/Likudnik figure, David Wurmser) which is so stupid -- as well as poorly writen (do they edit stuff at NRO?) -- that it deserves special attention by yours truly:

Israel's recent elections occurred in the context of significant, even monumental,["significant, and even monumental..." like "bad, and even horrible..."] questions facing the Jewish nation [and I thought that this was an election in which Israeli citizens, including more than 20 percent Arabs and at least 10 percent "others," that is, non-Jewish citizens vote. Do American-Jews belong to the "Jewish nation?" Is there an election in which members (citizens?) of the "Jewish nation" vote?] Israel faces grave threats from Hamas's ascent, [Thanks, George Bush!] al Qaeda's possible entry [entry?] into the Palestinian territories, the large-scale buildup of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the rise of an imminently nuclear, apocalyptic Iranian regime [I know what apocolyptic is; but what is exacly an "apocolyptic regime?" Well, never mind] . In the face of all of that, the central item on Israel's national agenda is unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank in order to establish the country's final borders.
Coverage of the elections has almost universally suggested that Israelis overwhelmingly support further disengagements from the Palestinians [territories? you mean. And, yes, all public opinion polls suggestes that that is indeed the view of a clear majority of Israelis]. The Kadima victory has been touted as a vindication "convergence," [that's supposed to mean what exactly?]Kadima's new title [translation please!] for unilateral Israeli withdrawal from large areas of the West Bank. But a closer look at the election results suggests a far more complex picture. Not all Israelis — not even a significant majority — support such a policy. And this could pose quite a challenge for Olmert's soon-to-be-formed government. [well, the polls indicate otherwise; but you think that the results of the election didn't? ok]
The new Kadima ("Forward") party, winner of the Israeli elections, was established a mere four months ago by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, shortly before his incapacitating stroke. Sharon left his own Likud party in order to temper [?] internal opposition generated by his unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, a move that broke with Likud's traditional stance. When Sharon fell ill, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was called upon to take charge of the fledgling party, and he rapidly became the country's frontrunner in the March elections that resulted.
Riding on Sharon's overwhelming popularity, Kadima was predicted by most polls to win an enormous victory — between 36 and 45 out of 120 Knesset seats — as recently as last week. Certain of his party's triumph, Olmert did something atypical of Israeli candidates: he spelled out his post-elections political plan. He told a variety of newspapers that he intends to withdraw unilaterally from large parts of the West Bank and to evacuate about 80,000 settlers from their homes. Even Prime Minister Sharon, who gained the Israeli people's unwavering trust, did not spell out his plan to disengage from Gaza prior to the last elections, fearing that such a move would cost him votes. Olmert, on the other hand, was so certain that the majority of Israelis had moved to the center-left, in support of unilateral disengagement, that he did not feel the need to keep his plans to himself until after the elections. [So he was like... honest? Shame on him.]

But Olmert's confidence was premature. Instead of gaining the hoped-for 36-45 seats, Kadima won the elections with only 29. [Actually the latest polls didn't show him winning between 36-45 seats] This result was disappointing to many in Kadima if only because they hoped the party would have more positions [you mean like "jobs?" Not like in Kama Sutra positions?] to hand out. But the results are most disappointing to the advocates of unilateral withdrawal. [you mean that most Kadima leaders were not supporting unilateral withdrawal and just wanted "positions"]
The challenge now facing Ehud Olmert is how to build a broad coalition that will support this withdrawal. His natural allies include the Labor party, with twenty mandates, the Pensioners, with seven mandates, and the secular ultra-left Meretz party,[I thought Kadima was also "secular." And what is "ultra-left?" Communist? Meretz is about where all social-democratic parties in Europe are ideologically speaking. Is Prodi in Italy "ultra-left?] with five. Although this does amount to 61 seats, the thin majority would leave such a government tremendously vulnerable to instability. [vulnerable to instability? NRO editor please....] Should the coalition survive and vote in favor of unilateral withdrawal, critics would surely claim it illegitimate and non-representative of the views of a very large minority. [Now why is a majority of memebrs in the Knesset which will also enjoy the support of other parties, including the Arab parties should be considered only a "large minority?" which in any case represents more votes than Bush received in the last presidential elections?]
To secure a more stable coalition, Olmert will have to turn to the large religious Shas party, which gained 12 mandates, or to the Russian immigrant party Yisrael Beitainu, which secured 11 mandates in the elections. If those two parties joined the coalition, Olmert could preside over a broad coalition of up to 84 mandates. Although it now seems likely that one or both will become members of the ruling coalition, this kind of a coalition would last only until Olmert launches his withdrawal plan. Shas's leaders, as well as the majority of its voters, strongly oppose unilateral withdrawals. In fact, in his victory speech following the elections, Shas's leader Eli Yishai emphasized, with tears in his eyes, his opposition to such border changes. [so, so moving, taking into consideration that most members of this ultra-Orthodox party don't serve in the military] Likewise, Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beitainu said as late as a week before the elections that his party, which advocates territorial exchanges with the Palestinians in order to maintain a clear Jewish majority in Israel, will oppose Olmert's unilateral withdrawals. [does he really oppose any unilateral withdrawal?]
Although many Israel observers in Washington interpret Kadima's election as a mandate for unilateral withdrawals, the fact is that there is not a strong, reliable Zionist majority to support such a move. Olmert could rely on the support of one or more of the Communist or Arab parties (with a total of nine seats), which oppose Israel's existence as a Jewish nation [you mean like Jewish state?], to carry out withdrawals. But opponents, including the settlers' Ichud Leumi (National Union) party, the secular right-wing parties, and the religious block (which together total 50 Knesset seats) would likely argue that this undermines the legitimacy of the withdrawal.[so they would? so what?] No matter how wide a temporary coalition Olmert will be able to establish, his ability to maneuver and carry out his political plan will face strong opposition. The disengagement plan may just disengage the flimsy coalition. [how witty]. [Well, Meyrav. Here are the facts: Your Man and your Party (Bibi and Likud) and what they represent lost Big Time. Contrary to your expectations, Kadima won not because of Sharon, but because of the the party's position on unilateral disengagement. And there is a clear majority of more than 61 members in Knesset in support for that position reflected also in the opinion polls. Period].

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