Israeli Officials Defend War and Peace as Political Battle Renews

Livni Announces Another New Party for January Vote

by Jason Ditz, November 22, 2012

From Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declaring that “we did the best we could” in the Gaza war to Defense Minister Ehud Barak complaining that the public didn’t understand how great the conflict was, efforts to spin the war, and perhaps more importantly, the peace are going on in earnest in Israel, with a lot at stake and the election just two months away.

The struggle is two-fold because on the one hand, the whole point of the war doesn’t seem clear, and on the other hand Israeli voters had been overwhelmingly sold on the war and are so far opposed to ending it.

So while the Likud-Beiteinu bloc had hoped to gain considerably from the war, to the point protesters were complaining the war was primarily political, the first polls show that they are actually losing somewhat to other far-right factions, with the religious right Jewish Home bloc now polling much stronger, and the even farther-right Strength for Israel Party also picking up some seats.

Another political shift is coming in the form of Tzipi Livni, who was originally supposed to join Labor but today announced she is forming yet another new party, called the National Responsibility Party. This party is only expected to win about 9 seats so far, but it seems they may actually take the last couple of seats away from Kadima, officially chasing Livni’s old party, which currently has the most seats in the opposition, out of parliament entirely.

Losing in Livni’s move are not just Kadima but the Yesh Atid, another new party which had tried to establish itself as a dovish pro-market party but quickly endorsed the Gaza War and has gone from a sure top 3-4 parties in the Knesset polls to a four seat also-ran.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz