Mofaz tables Disengagement+ in bid to top Livni
The internal battle for the Kadima leadership rolls on. Shaul Mofaz the party #2 seized an opportune moment (all Israeli political heavy weights abroad) to let loose a bombshell as part of his leadership bid, a new peace plan.. To recognize a Palestinian State!
[...] Under the plan, Israel would annex settlement blocs while withdrawing from 60 percent of the West Bank, comprising Areas A and B, where 99.2 of the Palestinians live, and additional land to create territorial contiguity. A Palestinian state would be set up in those areas of the West Bank and in Gaza, while no settlements would be evacuated at that stage.
Israel would then negotiate the fate of the rest of the West Bank and other core issues of the conflict with the leadership of the new Palestinian state, while passing legislation sanctioning compensation for settlers living in outlying settlements that would be evacuated.
“As a candidate to lead the country, I felt I had to present a plan” – Mofaz. [...]
Mofaz’s plan is very different than Livni’s Annapolis process, in which Israel would make no concessions to the Palestinians until a final-status deal would be reached on all issues. Bypassing Livni on the left, Mofaz said he would be willing to negotiate with Hamas under certain conditions to advance the plan.
“If Hamas would be elected and would want to negotiate and accept the quartet’s conditions, from that moment, it is no longer Hamas,” Mofaz said. “Responsible leadership in Israel would sit with those who changed their agenda.” [...]
Please everyone but Israel plan..
Not quite sure what if any benefit would arise from Mofaz’s plan. We already tried the disengagement plan in Gaza with poor results. This time out Mofaz seems convinced the entity leading this proposed Palestinian state may be Hamas from the get go, yet he’s undeterred. Isn’t the objective supposed to be gaining some peace? It seems highly unlikely any deal would result from this disengagement+ plan, we’d be in the same spot we are in now less the land and with 10x the security threat.
Equally, this doesn’t assist us in any way securing a regional peace deal with the Arab world. Sorta looks like a plan full of rewards for all the wrong people (including terrorists) with little payoff for Israel. Mofaz is clearly gambling he can rely on his solid right military credentials.. While leaping way left, poaching at Livni’s support base in the mix of Labor, Kadima, Meretz liberal soup that exists.
Time will tell how solid that keeps his right flank in Kadima & beyond. The center party is comprised of both right & left after all. Is this electable? Olmert certainly tried, but witness the backlash in Israel with the resurgent right as a result.
Not that it matters much – Hamas responds..
Former Palestinian Authority foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas responded that it would never accept the Quartet’s conditions, which include recognizing Israel, disarming terrorists, and accepting diplomatic deals signed by the PA.
“Hamas will not negotiate with Israel,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “We do not believe in engaging with the occupation, or in talks that would beautify its face in the eyes of the world.” [...]
Mofaz is gunning for Livni
Shaul is sure to get much more headway with his plan internally within Kadima. He upstages Livni who’s leadership qualities are being weekly challenged within the party, he even tosses in the fact Ehud Barak & President Peres support the initiative. All subtle jabs at Tzipi. Her personal relationship with Barak is frosty at best, and her own plan beyond opposing Netanayhu in everything remains obscured. The strategy of undermining her here is already paying off..
Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Tuesday slammed party rival Shaul Mofaz’ plan to open negotiations with Hamas in order to push forth the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying the concept ran contrary to their faction’s political platform.
While Livni would prefer to ignore the initiative of her number 2, however, she will not be able to avoid the issue for very long, as Kadima MKs are demanding a serious discussion. [...]
A number of Kadima MKs, some of whom supported Livni in her primary fight against Mofaz, support discussing his proposal. [...]
Not Ready for Prime Time
All in all it doesn’t look like Mofaz’s plan will gain much traction in the wider Israel arena, it’s too far left for the climate, not too mention dreamy in regards to Hamas. But I’m not sure it was designed for that purpose. With Bibi, Lieberman, Barak, Livni all clamoring at the top for the leadership of Israel stakes, it is a bit crowded up there right now.
Mofaz has other things to worry about, he’s got to knock Livni out of the Kadima leadership perch before he can play on their turf. His plan looks like the latest in a series of ever more forceful branch shakes.
Link Update: Mofaz taking heat & clarifying his Hamas statements (Jpost)
“I was the one who fought Hamas through the crosshairs of an Apache [assault helicopter], I stood behind the assassinations of [Sheikh Ahmed] Yassin and [Abdel Aziz] Rantisi and did everything I could to halt the suicide-bombers’ terror from Judea and Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield, and was in charge of the ongoing hits on top Hamas figures between 2003-2005 in Gaza. Nobody can doubt what I think about Hamas.”
Last Friday, in my domestic analysis of Bibi’s first 100 days I made a prediction regarding Likud strategy & Kadima. You can read the whole post if it is of interest on the hows & whys, but I chased it with bold statements like these..
[...] Bibi is a masterful political operator. He has pulled the rug out from under Livni, and if Mofaz is smart he will make his move to push for coalition. If Netanyahu is equally smart and he is, I expect it in the next 10-12 weeks as posted above.
Resistance is futile..
Should Kadima resist.. We may see it fracture with Mofaz leaving. The challenge for Bibi is mustering some portfolios for the senior defense Kadima man. The best case scenario for Netanyahu is such a fracture, for now he is surely content to allow Livni to wallow in obscurity otherwise, as the coalition play would be a pressure gambit only. Should he succeed in splitting Kadima (no small feat), the ground is clear for an opposition-less path for years ahead & a Likud power reign of the right.
In the wake of the State Budget’s approval Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close associates are setting their sights on the next target: Facilitating a split within the ranks of their main rival, Kadima.
The PM’s associates told Ynet that the so-called “Shaul Mofaz Bill,” which would allow 25% of the members of one Knesset faction to split and join another, is meant to prompt a Kadima split. “Should the Mofaz bill be passed, it will mark a significant strategic victory,” a senior official in Netanyahu’s office said.
The PM’s associates are claiming that at this time already, seven Kadima Knesset members will agree to leave their party and join Netanyahu’s coalition, even if Mofaz himself decides to shun the move for the time being. The prime minister’s associates said that in the near future they will be exerting intense pressure in a bid to approve the Mofaz Bill, in an effort to undermine the opposition. [...]
Approach to Danger
Livni, you are approaching the danger zone. It is no wonder that all of a sudden Livni’s tune is changing. Now we hear gems along the lines of ‘if Israel Beitenu leaves the coalition due to possible investigations of party head Avigdor Lieberman, Kadima would have no problem joining the coalition’.. More comedy gold.
Please don’t tell anyone that this ‘supposed aversion’ to Lieberman’s party is obviously the reason Livni spent the bulk of her own coalition efforts courting him, including such an invitation in her Victory Speech! to the nation on election night.
Oy! It’s not nice to laugh at your former party’s misfortunes, but I can’t help it. For a year+ I was posting post after post on Livni’s political fortunes, her handlers tall tales, and the fact that Bibi would eat her for breakfast. So far in my latest game of pick the political future I have scored big, with the Kadima implosion strategy now tabled as the next target for the Likud. We shall see if 11 weeks is enough time for me to sink a double bogey.. and watch Kadima split open like a melon.
Gil Hoffman at JPOST in a great article about Israel Beitenu’s legal woes and the possible fallout, mentions Mofaz as a dark horse for the Foreign Ministry should Avigdor Lieberman resign. But there’s the rub. Not enough English for Shaul in my opinion to make the position truly effective. What or how does Bibi shuffle the deck to make a tantalizing spot open for Mofaz to entice a full bail & bring a 1/3 of Kadima with him? The way the Kadima party& Livni treated him in the primary, it is difficult but doable as he & Livni seriously dislike each other. Will Mofaz try to oust Livni and take the party? Will he move to Israel Beitenu or more likely Likud?
No matter what there are fun times ahead for us Tea Leave readers everywhere.
In an effort to quell what has become evident media bias & undue influence on the public, a bill designed to limit media influence before primary voting has become law.
This may seem somewhat controversial, but in light of the cycle of events in recent elections and the polling which is routinely absurdly off base here, something needed to be done. Is this a solution? Perhaps not, but it does constitute a sharp slap & message to both pollsters & media in Israel who were wholly unapologetic for their bias recently, in what was clearly an attempt to influence elections.
The Knesset on Wednesday approved a bill prohibiting the publication of polls during the four days prior to any primary election. The bill constitutes a fine of NIS 67,300 (about $17,700).
The bill also states that polls that are published will be obligated to include certain details such as number of people polled, their background, and information regarding the method used to gather the data.
The proposal was initiated by Knesset Members Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor), Tzachi Hangebi (Kadima), Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) and Yuli Edelstein (Likud). It was submitted a few months ago, and legislative procedure was spurred after Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni’s victory over her opponent, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz.
The polls on the Kadima primaries showed a landslide victory for Livni, but on election eve she won by just a small margin. [...]
One notes that major players in all major parties were in favor & proposal, because the situation has become totally untenable to the point of openly influencing & manipulating Israeli Democracy by paid flacks in Israeli media, which has become like its US counterpart a sad, ill respected partisan joke. Israel is a small country with a heavy heavy media presence, this causes much more influence than larger markets may be accustomed to.
I would consider this a warning a shot, as it applies to primary votes not general elections. A free society depends on a free press, this is a signal in my belief to the media that it is time to start acting more responsibly, and to let the people not the agenda decide elections. The media sham that took place in the Kadima primary was the most shameful display in recent Israeli election history, the election of Livni was manipulated and everyone including Kadima itself knows it. Disclosure clauses in the bill would indicate a well warranted lack of trust in the media & polling, and puts the pollsters on notice..
Update: Israel Channel 2 to cease reporting primary polling entirely
Globes: Sources inform ”Globes” that Channel 2 News CEO Avi Weiss has decided that the company will no longer report primaries polls. He cited a professional recommendation by several polling and research firms because of polling inaccuracies. Until now, Channel 2 News and other news stations and media published primaries poll data, including polls in the Kadima party primaries mid-September, which were won by Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni. The decision will apply to primaries held by any party. [...]
We never do anything half way in Israel, it’s part of our charm.. Channel 10 is now under the spotlight, the Public broadcaster Channel 1 also released polling data on Primary night but waited until polls closed, an improvement but they still called the election in error based ENTIRELY on exit polling like other media outlets! Can you imagine!? Calling the elections on Exit Polls without counting votes, in some cases before polls even closed!? Total insanity. Incidentally, major print media are affiliated with the TV media stations and share / initiate polling data jointly.
Mrs Clean: Livni goes back on her word; Looks to form Arab based leftist Government coalition (Update II)
Unelected ‘leader’ needs to face the music, er.. electorate
Now into the 2 week extension for coalition building after having burned up the normal month long allocation with no result, the lady elected by less than 1% of the nation’s vote is getting desperate.
First she claimed she was unprepared to serve under Olmert who no longer had a mandate, yet she never resigned. Then she let it be known if she was not chosen the new Kadima head, she was leaving the party. Then she claimed she wanted to lead a center based government under her leadership based on Olmert’s coalition, despite being unelected. Later she claimed she was prepared to call elections, yet weeks later applied for coalition extensions instead.
Getting dizzy yet?
Then she swung radically left and invited Meretz to join. Afterwards she claimed what she really wanted was a national emergency government with the Likud because that was the ‘responsible’ thing to do. Later she stated it was not Meretz but UTJ & Shas who were her obvious natural partners, before of course telling Labor leader Barak he was the ‘supreme’ deputy Prime Minister under her little junta.
Now, after offering up billions of shekels to buy the leadership seat of Israel only to be as of yet spurned, she’s prepared to form an absurd narrow government of 60 MKs based on the radical left Meretz platform and requiring Arab party MKs to keep her afloat.. There’s only one thing missing from this little dictatorship she is looking to form, a mandate and some actual votes.
Not only has Mrs. Clean now waffled on every statement she has ever made, now she’s selling out the entire Kadima center party concept to feed her unabashed unelected ambitions wholesale, putting the power center in the hands of the radical left and traditional anti Zionist Israel haters. Shas, Kadima members themselves, the Pensioners, pretty much everyone save Livni thinks this is somewhat insane. Not only that but it breaks the only deal she managed to sign with Labor, where she pledged to build a solid 2 year proof government or go to elections.
As six Kadima MKs, headed by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, said they would not support a narrow government if one were brought to the Knesset for approval next week, Kadima leader and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni threatened Wednesday to hold general elections. [...]
Livni told Mofaz that she preferred a wide government, but that if there were parties – such as Shas and UTJ – that chose not to join a government under her leadership, she would consider forming a narrow one. Livni told Mofaz that all options were still valid, including going to general elections.
Mofaz told Livni that he would like to help form a wide government. Mofaz has gathered five other Kadima MKs who support his position that a narrow government with Labor and Meretz would be too left-wing and would therefore be subject to political extortion and concessions in negotiations with the Palestinians, and later on with the Syrians [...]
A 60 seat skin of your teeth anti Zionist coalition is not what you’d call a solid governing body able to last 2 weeks let alone 2 years in Israel’s political system. Nor would it have anything even resembling a shred of mandate with HUGE issues looming large for Israel including existential threats, unrevealed peace plans, etc. Less than a week later she has already balked on her commitments to Barak, if this is the clean Leader Livni it bodes for disaster.
It seems there is no red line Livni isn’t willing to cross in her quest. Isn’t it time we got real elected leadership, a real mandate by vote not some shady word breaking back room deals? The notion that this woman who received less than 45% of her own party’s vote, less than 25,000 votes in ALL of Israel can possibly be mandated to do anything save tie her own shoes is a real mockery. Stop threatening us endlessly that you will call elections Livni, and call the elections. Please sh*t or get off the pot, we need leadership in this country and we need it now.
At least one thing has become crystal clear and undeniable to all, Livni is a leftist. Light years away from the tough right wing ‘Ariel Sharon heir’ she claimed to be. It seems Mrs. Clean hasn’t been all that honest with us, feel free to choose when and where for yourself as it is a multiple choice question with numerous right answers.
UPDATE: Power Queen plays ‘Who wants to be a billionaire?’
‘Mrs. Clean’ offers Shas 1 Billion Shekels to secure her govt.. First it was 400 million, then 800 million, now a full Billion in 24 hours and the day is not over yet.. Add this to the 1.5 billion promised to Labor, and hundreds million more for Meretz, Pensioners and anyone else who can dig into the Livni leadership trough.. Global Recession? Fiscal conservative, no amount of taxpayer dollars is too much it seems to burn, for what? Did I get a vote to spend billions on this sham, no.. Did you?
UPDATE II: Now it’s back to elections if no coalition deal is done by Sunday
So this would be the hardball I take it? Frankly I injured my neck in whiplash trying to keep track of these machinations all over the map. The Pensioners have pulled out of talks entirely apparently today, because they now also want a few hundred million to a billion sheks and Livni has stated she doesn’t want to act ‘irresponsibly’..
“The moment of reckoning has arrived,” Livni said at a Kadima faction meeting, Wednesday. “Decisions need to be made by Sunday and then we will know whether there will be a coalition or elections. Negotiations have not been exhausted to their fullest, but time is not on our side,” she added.
The Kadima leader insisted that she would not agree to break the budget and that she would not restore child welfare payments to their former levels. In the closed session, the Kadima leader said she preferred a government that was as broad as possible, but admitted that it was not yet clear if she would even get a 61-MK majority, Israel Radio reported. [...]
According to her enamored media, Kadima & Livni herself, she should be all set for a 20% electoral landslide crushing the Likud, so why the reticence to go to the electorate? Might it have something to do with the fact that in reality she is going to get shellacked?
Personally, I maintained she would have difficulty beating Mofaz, that’s how it rolled. I also made my call she would not be able to build a coalition which was pretty ballsy seeing as one already existed - I’m sticking to my guns.. We’ll see what goes on from now till Sunday. If she opts for this 61 Meretz Arab MK coalition I will openly revolt like the Hashmoneans against the Seleucids.
Who’s in control here? It is no longer clear
It might seem like I’ve been beating a dead horse covering the polling situation in Israel for well over a month now, slamming our big media endlessly for what I have called ‘agenda ridden polling’ and pushing their own views to shape public opinion in their own image, within Israel and abroad.
I apologize if it is tiresome, but I’ve been doing so because it has become more than clear that entirely unqualified & unelected media have had a skewing effect on state affairs for some time now in the realm of national decision making. It needs to stop and now MKs from both Israel Beitenu & Likud are proposing legislation to curtail influence by law. This is a small measure of vindication and allows me to get away with yet another post on this topic..
JPOST: ‘Ban publishing exit polls before voting ends’- Shelly Paz
(reproduced in full, I normally don’t do that but I digress on this topic)
MK Yisrael Hasson (Israel Beiteinu) will hold a special session of the Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday to discuss banning the publication of exit polls while the ballot boxes are open for voting. Hasson chairs the panel.
“The meeting was set following the profound questions that have arisen regarding the media’s conduct and its influence on several crucial events in the Israeli reality; the disengagement [from Gaza in 2005], the Goldwasser-Regev-Kuntar swap deal [in July] and the Kadima primary last week,” Hasson said on Sunday.
It was important to examine whether the media had became the decision-maker, he said. “In other words, to check whether the watchdog of democracy has turned against the landlord.”
Hasson’s initiative is a result of allegations against the Israeli media and the way it covered the primary, accusations that went as far as to say that new Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni won the race thanks to media coverage that was clearly biased in her favor.
It has also been claimed that the publication of exit polls while the ballot boxes were still open, as well as in the days immediately before the primary, influenced the final result.
Also on Sunday, Likud MKs Gilad Erdan and Moshe Kahlon announced on they would soon introduce a bill that would ban the publications of polls in the two weeks before general elections and party primaries.
“Some would say that the intensive coverage of abducted soldiers increases the pressure on the decision-makers, who give in and agree to pay high prices, but that is impossible to quantify,” Erdan told The Jerusalem Post.
He added that he expected decision-makers to be able to withstand such pressure. “However, the general public can be influenced by polls, trends and the general mood that is created by the media.
“The media creates trends and they obviously affect the voters, who lie to pollsters and don’t feel comfortable revealing their real choice, and sometimes they are even discouraged by the polls and don’t even bother to go and exercise their rights at the ballot box,” Erdan said.
Dr. Yariv Ben-Eliezer, director of media studies at the Lauder School of Government at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, said that banning the publications of polls and surveys one or two weeks prior to primaries and general elections would help restrain the media’s eternal struggle for ratings.
“It’s not an exact science, but in general, the function of the media is to report, and when a TV channel or a newspaper commissions a poll, they’re not reporting anymore, they’re creating the news, and that is a failure of the media – where it deviates from its proper role,” Ben-Eliezer said.
Once the media commissioned polls and published them, it no longer reflected reality as it was but rather shaped it. “People are influenced and they can be affected by it [polls], and they may want to join what seems to be the stronger [political] group. I don’t say they do it intentionally, I believe that this is a result of the fight for ratings,” Ben-Eliezer said.
Indeed, Israel is a small country. A vibrant Democracy needs a vibrant free media, but at what point does it become clear that media, ‘elites’ & select opinion is now driving the national agenda? With today’s power in media that point in Israel has not only been crossed it has become untenable, this past week bordering nearly on criminal behavior with the Kadima Primary fiasco.
Crossing the line?
Now our national media pushes an agenda, and then when it is done doing so our media figures drop all pretense entirely and simply get themselves tacked onto party lists where they have already engendered favor through bias in reporting, and become Knesset MKs! Shelley Yacimovich of the Labor party, who was a vocal & visible journalist / activist put into Knesset this past session is a prime example. A number of Haaretz journalists have also recently left to pursue local & national politics as well, it kind of reeks.
Of course, journalists are free to enter politics by all means, but it seems that politics has also been entirely too free to enter Journalism here as well.. It’s time to reign them in because the people need to elect its governments and drive popular issues, not a handful of talking heads. This phenomenon has pushed Israel’s decision making farther to the left overall, while its electorate is solidly majority center and center right. The right is slandered, smeared & deligitimized by a cadre of illegitimate media, oh the irony.
Swinging left to Meretz was a very BAD idea..
Livni’s 1st political move was a classic mistake. Instead of immediately leaning right to secure goodwill within Kadima and without, where she lacks it most and where the country is also leaning most, she went left to the Meretz no man’s land of political oblivion.
Of course the reasoning is simple enough, they are going gaga for Livni on the far left. The glowing media and support is akin to a warm embrace, comfort food for a very weak slim win. Further, the ideological platform she is pushing in negotiations falls squarely in the Meretz camp. Thing is she accomplishes more than just alienating the right in a move like that, she also alienates the left, or in this case Labor party’s leader.
Struck by lightning (Barak)
Barak himself as Prime Minister already flirted with the Meretz platform 10 years ago, it cost him his job. Why on earth Livni thought he may enjoy flirting with that platform openly again, especially in light of his already low opinion of her - all in order to secure her the PM job is beyond me?
Being 1st out of the gate to reinforce the common view that she has sacrificed every principle of her Likud roots, and now even Kadima’s own charter is not a genius play. The notion that this is Sharon’s heir politically we are seeing is as I stated divine comedy. The empress has no clothes so far. Judging by the media roundup below, no one is as of yet tossing her any either. If anything, there’s a concerted effort to challenge the legality of her win within Kadima forming now, and a possible flirt between Labor & Likud on a power sharing agreement. Anyone get the feeling Livni wants to share power and rotate the big PM chair? Me neither.
Livni is not the only one who can form a govt
She is dominating the media, but President Peres can be approached by other factions to form a govt. Peres & Olmert are now racing to get things squared away, Peres may even delay his trip to the USA for the UN general assembly to keep the paltry Livni momentum going. The last thing he wants is to come back in a week or so and be presented with a government option that does not even involve Livni, a national emergency government of the left & the right which leaves out the so called center party and Livni entirely..
Look at this math..
Labor 19, Likud 12, Israel Our Home 11, Shas 12 = 54
NRP 9, UTJ 6, Pensioners 6.
Either of those last three added is enough to secure a slim majority without Kadima, Meretz or elections, and the pensioners and UTJ are easy enough addons. With all the freed up Kadima portfolios it is darn right near a jamboree where everyone gets to keep their corrupt cozy seats, and even get a few juicy new ministries. It is a Kadima nightmare scenario..
Even Assad has a better opinion of Livni than Barak (Haaretz)
Comptroller mulls corruption probe of Kadima primary
(Jpost on the race rift exploding)
Barak – ‘Israel needs nat’l emergency gov’t’
(Jpost on a Labor Likud power sharing agreement)
Olmert: I have decided to resign as prime minister of Israel
(Jpost, everyone assumes Peres will appoint Livni)
Labor sources: Barak seeks early general elections (Haaretz)
Mofaz supporter calls for recount of Kadima primary (Haaretz)
Livni says Kadima will continue to lead Israel (Ynet)
Hitting the brakes
The last link shows Livni is already backtracking to ‘National Unity Government’ talk, meaning that her plans to maintain the current coalition seem stalled entirely, she assumed she could just patch together Olmert’s coalition and tack on Meretz for more seats, but you know what they say about the old adage assume? When you ASSUME you are ‘Making an ASS out of U and ME’.
She better not assume she is guaranteed to be the party leader being offered the shot at forming a govt either, as by displaying further hubris she may be in for a surprise. She also assumed she would landslide the primary, and she assumes she will landslide a general election too..
How many times in one week can you ‘make an ass of yourself’ is the real question?