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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Israeli right factures « Previous | |Next »
November 23, 2005

So the hardline Israeli nationalist right Right has fractured with Ariel Sharon abandoning the Likud party, which he founded 32 years ago. It was on the cards given the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the Likud hardliners opposition to Sharon's evacuation of Gaza. The rift that cut through the heart of Likud over the disengagement plan is more unbridgeable than ever.

Still, it is a dramatic change that reinforces the collapse of consensus from Labor pulling out of its coalition with Likud. Things are shifting.


Many centrist parties have been formed in Israel 's history. Few have suceeded. Israel has been a society of extremes that do not unite the center. Presumably, there will be another Coalition government formed after the February elections. Does that mean the marginalization of Likud? Will the former ruling party be pushed to the margins as representative only of a religious/nationalist hard core opposed to concessions to the Palestinians?

Does this mean that Sharon may decide on partial withdrawals and a dismantling of settlements on the West Bank?Will the new Israel work to implement the U.S.-backed road map peace plan, which envisions further pull-outs on a far larger scale from the remaining parts of the West Bank and a Palestinian state as a result of peace talks?

We should remember that Sharon is no peacemaker, given his nationalist, pro-settlement history.

Update: 24 November
Anthony Bubalo, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute addresses some of these questions in this op.ed in The Sydney Morning Herald. He says:

The optimists argue that a newly empowered Sharon would revitalise a moribund peace process. After all, if Sharon had intended to do little more than the Gaza withdrawal he could have remained in Likud. Pessimists will point to his record, expecting not renewed negotiations but further unilateral moves that fall well short of Palestinian expectations... the last word should probably go to the pragmatists.Sharon is no convert to the peace-at-any-price camp. But, equally, he seems to recognise that it is in Israel's interests to finally set its borders with the Palestinians. And should the pragmatism in the emerging Israeli political dispensation be echoed in Palestinian legislative elections in December, the door to the resumption of negotiations may well be reopened.

This is fence sitting disguised as backgrounding. Should not pragmatism mention the settlements; the Israeli strategy to prevent a viable Palestinian state through carving up the West Bank; the occupation, refugees or the treatment of Arab-Israeli citizens?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:17 AM | | Comments (0)