Foxy: Mofaz proving to be wily opponent in Kadima

Haaretz is surprised, the rest of us perhaps less so..

Mofaz attracting surprising level of support in Kadima
By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent

After winning the support Monday of Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Boim and MK Ronit Tirosh in his bid to head Kadima, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is expected to also get nods from the minister for the development of the Negev and the Galilee, Jacob Edery, and Cabinet Minister Ruhama Avraham Balila. Sources within Kadima who have spoken with Edery and Avraham Balila say they will both join the Mofaz camp. Avraham Balila is expected to convene her supporters today and then hold a press conference to announce her decision.

MK Tzachi Hanegbi is also slated to meet with activists on Tuesday, in the Petah Tikva home of Levy Sheetrit, a major Mofaz supporter. He has not, however, yet made clear whose candidacy he will support. Observers believe that even if Hanegbi decides to put his weight behind Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, he will not force his choice on his supporters in the party. [...]

[...] Boim’s decision to join the Mofaz camp defied the expectations of both Mofaz and Livni. At Monday’s press conference he admitted that the decision was not an easy one.

“I made a list of the traits needed in a prime minister – level-headedness, calm; military, foreign affairs and political experience; decision-making capabilities, reliability, modesty and integrity – I reached the conclusion that Shaul Mofaz was the most suitable person,” Boim said.

Ouch – As for Livni, it’s nothing personal but this is not the time for experiments in experience & judgement, I’m more than inclined to agree with the esteemed Minister Boim (Immigration & Absorption, an honored ministry here in Israel for obvious reasons). Livni has made ‘good judgement’ the central plank of her campaign, just as Obama has stateside. It’s a very quaint way of saying there’s not much to base your vote for me on as far as track record is concerned, neither makes a particularly convincing argument to me. In Livni’s case, she has occupied for 2 years a central position of authority in Government, Foreign Minister and one of several deputy Prime Ministers, unfortunately while she may maintain she has exhibited good judgement – Experience shows she has been highly ineffective for Israel thus far. Experience combined with lack thereof in her case, unlike the Illinois rockstar with a blank slate save for community organizing, is working against her.

Rice’s Arrival could spell doom – Olmert / Livni plan leaked

Recent polls show Livni has a 4-5 point advantage over Mofaz, about 38% vs 33%, within the margin of error. But leaks of the deals she has been negotiating with the PA are now surfacing, this could work out unfavorably for Livni. Worse, Condi Rice is flying to Israel in the next two weeks to try and squeeze out a joint statement by Israel & the PA on progress in the Annapolis process, putting the stamp of ‘legitimacy’ on Livni’s efforts thus far well beyond any leaks.

This is fairly nightmarish for Livni, it may result in intense criticism arising from the negotiations she has done thus far, with none of the glory / left wing euphoria over a finished deal that she can campaign on for electoral approval. Saving face for Rice, whom herself is desperate for something positive to attach herself to after a disastrous 4 year State Department stint, could cost Livni the primary.. Most especially if Abbas & the PA react with their usual sour puss face to these initiatives offered by Kadima towards peace, because they already contain some whopper concessions. Mofaz, can stand on the side polishing his M-16 meanwhile. It may be an enviable position in the coming weeks for the sly Shaul (Fox in Hebrew).

UPDATE: PA Rejects Offer Out of Hand

YNET  [...] “The Israeli proposal is not acceptable,” Abbas’ spokesman said. “The Palestinian side will only accept a Palestinian state with territorial continuity, with holy Jerusalem as its capital, without settlements, and on the June 4, 1967 boundaries.”

He called the Israeli proposal a “waste of time”.

No surprise, the Palestinians are not interested in peace, only trying to break Israel into pieces. 93% + of the West Bank isn’t good enough it seems - 40 years later the palestinians are stuck in a time capsule, keep dreaming and dying.. Suits me fine, instead they can get nothing for the next 40 years, by then we will have settled another 50-60 percent and they can make do with Gaza for all I care.