Kadima Tries Hawkish Route as Elections Loom

Kadima Promises Hamas Killings, Obama Magic as They Scramble for Votes

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni lauded the war in the Gaza Strip today during a meeting with US ambassador James Cunningham, saying it “created a strategic change in the status of Hamas” and “can serve as a stimulus for the new [Obama] Administration and the international community to change the reality.”

Hopes for a fundamental change in reality aside, polls show Livni’s Kadima Party trailing the rival Likud Party in next month’s elections. While the two were in a virtual dead heat, the popularity of the war and the Likud Party’s bellicose rhetoric against ending it have left Kadima on the outside looking in.

But as the party tries to sell the international community on Israel’s sincere support for the ceasefire in Gaza domestically the rhetoric is far more hostile. Transport Minister and top Kadima member Shaul Mofaz threatened to assassinate Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, one of the more moderate leaders in the Hamas Party, as well as other Hamas members during a campaign stop in Sderot. In a speech today Knesset speaker Itzik also tried to bolster the party’s flagging image, saying it was Livni who initiated the war in the first place.

The suggestion that Obama can change reality is likely part of the same campaign message, as the Kadima Party has also said that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu would clash with President Obama and jeopardize Israel’s relationship with the United States.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.