Livni on the edge

I don’t believe we have commented on the political situation in Israel, where Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appears to be on the brink of becoming Prime Minister. As David Hazony notes, Livni has “very little experience in government and virtually none in defense.” Nor did she distinguish herself as Foreign Minister. She supported the disgraceful “terrorists for dead hostages” deal with Hizbullah, and then, according to Caroline Glick, attempted to distance herself from it.

Previously (again according to Glick), Livni had “preached defeatism” during the 2006 war with Hizbullah. She “began calling for a negotiated cease-fire that would leave Hizbullah in charge of South Lebanon just hours after Hizbullah attacked [an Israeli] unit and began bombing northern Israel with rockets.” The centerpiece of Livni’s answer to the situation in South Lebanon has been the deployment of international forces to keep the peace. But no reasonable person could have had faith in these forces and, in fact, they have been completely ineffective since their deployment. They have done nothing to prevent Hizbullah from re-arming and nothing to protect the pro-democratic forces in Lebanon from Hizbullah.

How has the feckless Livni become the presumptive Prime Minister of Israel? First, the feckless and corrupt Ehud Olmert resigned. Second, Livni managed narrowly to defeat Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz in a primary. Glick argues that the primary process was rife with voter fraud. Be that as it may, her victory puts Livni in a position where, if she is able to form a government within 42 days, she will be Prime Minister until 2010.

To make matters worse, Mofaz has announced that he is bowing out of the government. This, Hazony explains, is significant because as the former defense minister and IDF chief-of-staff, Mofaz represents Kadima’s greatest claim to security-related credentials.

Under these circumstances, and with everything Israelis have been through, what Israel really needs is an election. But Livni is having none of it. She states, “I am not afraid of elections, and we in Kadima have no reason to worry about elections; they are just unnecessary.” Polls suggest, however, that Livni would hardly be a shoe-in if elections were to be held.

Israel may have a chance of avoiding Livni’s takeover. According to the Jerusalem Post, Defense Minister and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak may prefer to form a national emergency government with the Likud,. Apparently, he met today with opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu who urged him to help initiate a new general election rather than join Livni’s government.

Livni is prepared to counter by inviting the left-wing Meretz party into her coalition. This move would likely produce a leftist government that favors increased accommodation with Israel’s enemies. There’s little reason to believe that Livni would be uncomfortable heading up such a government.

Perhaps the Kadima experiment is drawing to a close and Israel is moving back to a traditional right vs. left, hard-line vs. soft-line politics.

To comment on this post, go here.


Books to read from Power Line