Monday, January 24, 2011

Israeli Politics Driven by Regional Reality

At the end of a detailed explanation of why Israel's Labor party has disintegrated, Barry Rubin summarizes the lessons learned by Israelis over the last 17 years.

What outsiders don’t understand is that Israeli politics today is not a function of internal ideology or personality but a response to an environment where there is no realistic alternative for transforming the regional situation.

Israelis learned important lessons during the peace process of the 1990s. They discovered that the Palestinians and Syria are not interested in peace. They realized that the Islamists want to wipe Israel off the map. And they concluded that Western allies are not necessarily reliable. The left’s formula — as even Barak came to understand — didn’t work. Wishful thinking is no substitute for realism.

There is absolutely nothing on the horizon, despite a lot of fantasy Western media coverage and policy thinking, to change that.

Moreover, the Netanyahu-led government has done a credible job of handling the issues, including maintaining good relations with the Obama administration. Meanwhile, Israel’s economy is doing remarkably well.

That’s not to say there aren’t problems. But neither are the problems so great, nor the alternatives so obvious or attractive, nor the other candidates for leadership so attractive to provoke a change. Bet on Netanyahu to win another term in office, probably this year.

I'm not sure he's right about 'this year,' but he's right about all the rest of it.

Labels: Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Kadima, Labor party, Likud party, Tzipi Livni

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 8:08 PM

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