Monday, December 29, 2008

Winners in Gaza - Kadima and Labour

Early polls are showing that Israel's Gaza offensive is paying big returns for the Kadima and Labour parties just a month before Israelis vote in national elections.

Kadima's Tzipi Livni and Labour's Ehud Barak are both closely linked with past efforts at negotiations with the Palestinians. By contrast the leader of the Likud Party, former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is one of the biggest hawks in Israeli politics and has already signaled that he would take a tough line with the Palestinians if he wins the election.

A month ago a Likud victory looked almost certain, but since the Gaza assault began both Kadima and Labour have gained ground, sparking some talk that they may get enough votes to cobble together a ruling coalition after the election. Voters interviewed by the Times of London clearly appreciated that the current Kadima-led government launched the Gaza offensive; one voter called it "genius".

The poll results are sure to spark more speculation that the whole Gaza offensive was less about providing security and more about providing votes to parties that had been trailing badly in the polls.

Political observers caution that there is still a month before the election and that if Israel were to commit troops to a (likely very bloody) ground campaign in Gaza, public opinion could quickly turn against the mission.
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