Sunday, December 04, 2005

We're Just Starting

Just when you thought we could loosen the belt a little, relax and get stuck into some horrifically fattening sufganiyot sold all over the country for weeks leading up to Chanukah, our nearest and dearest politicians have given us plenty of other food for thought (and heartburn!)

But then, never count your chickens till they're kashered because as well as fighting of calories we might well be dragged into strong retaliation for what is fast becoming a ridiculous expression of weakness as our leaders allow Israelis (not settlers even!) live in fear of injury and death.

Sharon has 'always' claimed that restraint is a sign of strength. Good on him! At times, it can be the safer, wiser tactic. Frankly now, it's looking like insanity. We should not have to wait to funeral time before the IDF is given a greener light to defend Israeli citizens. I'm not advocating willy-nilly missile fire into crowded Palestinian cities but if that's where terrorists cynically choose to fire them from, the difficult questions must indeed be posed. I've asked before and I'll plead for an answer again - where is the harsh response promised should Palestinians launch attacks from Gaza after Disengagement? On this basis of this promise, many hesitant Israelis backed Disengagement.

Maybe it's a matter of timing. Right now, the Right is slamming Sharon's Kadima Party as a Peres reincarnation and in fact Shimon himself is so happy with the makeover that he's jumped on board the ship himself. With Kadima perceived by some as a left-swinger, Sharon may well be waiting for the best moment to respond to the Palestinian (and even Hezbollah) provocation and stupidity. If he's going to fulfill the prophecy of the polls, Arik will have to somehow find a way to maintain some semblance of center in his new ideology.

It is felt among many that centrist parties don't do very well in Israel - possibly because the issues we live with here are not quite the "sitting on the fence" model. Yitzchak Mordechai and Amnon Lipman-Shahak tried fence dwelling in the past only to find themselves falling painfully with one leg on each side of the said fence. In a similar mold, it appears that Kadima is a one-man show and its future lies solely at his feet. He's a big man, but there's no hiding the suspision that for good or for bad, this looks like a repeat of Titanic - a one cruise, one election wonder.

Don't be fooled though! One election may be enough. Whether through forced negotiations or desperate unilateralism, Arik intends to draw the final borders of the two states. He intends to separate the cousins and at his age, it's clear one more mandate and 4-year term will have to do the trick.

All said and done then? Kadima will have 40 seats and we'll all watch as Sharon and Peres roll on into the 80s?

Yes the Kadima hype is still pumping and even Amir Peretz is still bathing in the continuous announcements of new candidates and supporters for his Labor party. But it's such early days. Without a doubt, the Likud is more than a step behind, maybe even the length of a football field in the background. Yet, noone knows (let alone the man on the street being polled) who will be the Likud candidate. Only once Bibi or Mofaz or another is selected will we gain a real perspective. Moreover, there's so much jumping ship that only when the party lists are finalized will we all be able to truly look at the options. And we haven't even started considering the smaller parties.

The political spectrum has changed considerably in the last couple of weeks. If you're breathless after two weeks, get some oxygen into you... quickly - there is still so so long till election day.

1 comment:

Hugh said...

Has anyone noticed that the historical predeccesor of a political party entitled "Kadima was an Italian party called "Avanti?" Let us hope that should the leader of Kadima come to power, he does better for his constituents than Benito did for his.