On Eve of Israeli Election, Peace Is a Non-Issue

Netanyahu poised to roll over divided moderates

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 21, 2013 4:06 PM CST

(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu seems poised for re-election as Israel's prime minister in tomorrow's voting, the result of the failure of his opponents to unite behind a viable candidate against him—and the fact that most Israelis no longer seem to believe it's possible to reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians. The widely held assumption of a victory by Netanyahu comes despite his grim record: there is no peace process, there is growing diplomatic isolation and a slowing economy, and his main ally has been forced to step down as foreign minister because of corruption allegations.

Persistent squabbling by main figures divided among main parties in the moderate camp has made this the first election in decades without two clear opposing candidates for prime minister. And the confusion and hopelessness that now characterize peace with the Palestinians has cost the moderates their historical campaign focus. Many Israelis are disillusioned with the bitter experience of Israel's unilateral pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005 that led to years of violence. Others believe Israel's best possible offers have been rejected: "There can't be peace because we've tried everything already," said a 51-year-old Israeli. "They apparently don't want to make peace. It doesn't matter what you give them—it won't be enough."

Election campaign billboard of Israeli Prime Minister and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu is reflected on a bus window in Givataim, Israel, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.
Election campaign billboard of Israeli Prime Minister and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu is reflected on a bus window in Givataim, Israel, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
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