Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bibi Makes Headway

The AP announced today that Avigdor Lieberman, the far-right leader of Israel's Yisrael Beitanu party, has joined the Likud coalition, headed by former Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu. This virtually guarantees that Netanyahu will become the next Prime Minister, which is as much a victory for Israel's right as Obama's was for America's left.

Tzipi Livni, leader of the centrist Kadima party and PM hopeful, was also asked to join the coalition, but her response was in the negative:
"Today the foundations were laid for an extremist right-wing government under the leadership of Netanyahu," Livni's office quoted her as telling a meeting of Kadima members. "That is not our way and there is nothing for us in such a government ... We must be an alternative of hope and go into opposition."
The victory of these far right parties means more delays for peace talks, since Netanyahu does not value peace efforts in their current form. He prefers to use force as leverage to get the Palestinians to agree to his terms. This may put him at odds with President Obama, who has vowed to push for peace in the region on more liberal terms.

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