Elections to The Knesset (The Israeli Parliament) done come and gone. The ‘right-wing’ have been the big winners, and on that basis will presumably continue to ‘Bring the Zionist Dream to Life’ for some time to come.
Kadima (Forward) 28;
Likud (Union) 27;
Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Is Our Home) 15;
Shas (Sephardi Keepers of the Torah, religious-Zionist) 11;
United Torah Judaism (religious-Zionist bloc) 5;
Hadash (The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, leftist, non-Zionist) 4;
United Arab List-Ta’al (non-Zionist bloc) 4;
National Union (religious-Zionist) 4;
(New Movement–) Meretz (Vitality, left-Zionist) 3;
Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home, religious-Zionist) 3;
Balad (National Democratic Assembly, non-Zionist) 3.
Voter turnout: 65.2%.
Assignations of ‘left’ and ‘right’ are somewhat difficult and not necessarily relevant, at least insofar as the Occupied Territories (the nominally independent Gaza and the West Bank) are concerned. (Note that both Labor and New Movement-Meretz are members of the Socialist International.) No matter which party — Kadima or Likud — eventually cobbles together a coalition to form government, the people of Palestine will lose; in the longer-term, so too will the people of Israel.
As it stands, it appears most likely Likud will form a coalition with some of the other rightist parties.
In general, Israeli voters appear to be tired of the blah blah blah that constitutes ‘the peace process’, and are looking for a more direct solution to the Palestinian problem: “…a clear majority of voters supported parties that regard military force, rather than peace talks, as the best way to safeguard the country” (Israeli Election Reflects Resurgence of the Right, Shift Indicates Frustration With Failed Peace Talks, Griff Witte, Washington Post, February 14, 2009).
…the party of ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, which scored a third-place finish that vaults him into a king-making role, has promoted the notion of the enemy within. He has warned Jewish Israelis that the nation’s Arab citizens, who make up about 20 percent of the population, are undermining the state. The key to Israel’s long-term security, he has suggested, is to rid it of Arabs — even if that means turning over Israeli land where Arabs are concentrated to a future Palestinian state, in exchange for West Bank settlements…
Gaza: Facts on the Ground
February 8, 2009
The watchword on the streets was: “The landlord’s gone crazy”. The goal of the operation: “To fuck their mothers’ mother”. Calls to erase Gaza rode lightly off people’s lips. Hamas are armed and dangerous. Destroy their buildings, their personnel. Anyone around them is as good as dead.
Since the end of the 2006 Lebanon War, the expectation of a future “big operation in Gaza” that would restore the muddied honor of the Israeli army has been periodically floated in the media, and normalized in Israelis’ consciousness. On the day after the US elections, Israel was the first to break the elapsed ceasefire with Hamas, which in response renewed its own rocket attacks. In truth, Israel had never kept its side of the Egyptian-brokered bargain over the ceasefire, in failing to end the harsh economic blockade.
A Russian joke: “They told me, ‘Relax, it could be worse’. So I relaxed, and indeed it got worse.”
Palestinian despair deepens ahead of elections
February 10, 2009
My eyes stung, I was coughing, my nose was running. Along with cameraman David Hawley and freelance producer Kareem Khadder, I had just been tear-gassed — not for the first time last Friday — during a day-long clash between Palestinian kids and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Na’alin, on the West Bank.
We had gone there to gauge the Palestinian view of Tuesday’s Israeli elections. Na’alin, and many other towns and villages like it in the West Bank, are in the forefront of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Here, it all comes down to the most basic element in the century-old conflict: control of the land…
Back in the town of Na’alin, the kids throwing stones at Israeli troops do have some odd companions. Young Israelis, some of them self-described anarchists, also take part in the protests.
They don’t throw stones, but they do offer useful advice. “Laththam! Laththam!” one Israeli with black tattoos on his arms tells a young boy, no older than 12, hurling rocks with a home-made sling.
“Laththam” is Arabic for “cover your face,” the advice imparted because if Israeli troops can identify stone throwers, they arrest them.
There still is cooperation of sorts between Palestinians and Israelis, but it’s an increasingly rare commodity. And this election probably won’t do anything to bridge the growing gap between the two — the curious friendship in Na’alin notwithstanding.
Anarchists against the wall (AATW):
Weekly Demonstrations in Bil’in, Ni’ilin and Um Salmuna
February 6, 2009
Weekly demonstration against the wall, Bil’in. Video by David Reeb.
On Friday, Israeli and international activists joined Palestinians in the West Bank villages of Bil’in, Ni’ilin and Um Salmuna demonstrating against the Apartheid wall built on their lands.
In Bil’in, residents gathered after the Friday prayers and headed out from the village center towards the direction of the wall in a large, energetic march whose message included not only the call to dismantle the wall and end the occupation, but also to lift the siege on Gaza, an ongoing crime which many – in Israel and worldwide – seem able to ignore with the end of the brutal military assault…
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
See also : Chomsky on Gaza (January 19, 2009) | Moar later… (January 9, 2009) | Whoops (January 7, 2009) | Lead Casted (January 5, 2009) | Peace process surges further ahead (January 3, 2009) | Kill for peace : “Operation Cast Lead” (December 28, 2008) | For Reasons of (Israeli) State (Policy) (July 25, 2008) | Israel, Jews, the state, anarchism… (May 22, 2008)