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
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)

(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."

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Jan 22, 2013 12:01 PM CST
Don't give up hope. This could be a "Dewey Beats Truman" moment. Election-eve polls show an historically high voter turnout that is now approaching 70%. Many commentators agree that if turnout crosses that threshold, Labor might win. Furthermore, pollsters are showing pro-peace party Yesh Atid coming in at a very close second to Likud. Last but not least, polls indicate historically high turnout among Israeli Arabs. Don't give up hope. Let's see what tomorrow brings.
Jan 22, 2013 2:33 AM CST
Some of these pro-Israeli comments I find infuriating for their sheer dishonesty. It is irrelevant how large or small Israel is. It is irrelevant that the Palestineans have never had their own country. They lived in the area for centuries. And it is an outright lie to say the Palestineans are not interested in peace. Let us begin with an indisputable truth. There was no Israel for nearly 2000 years until the British allowed tens of thousands of Jews to migrate in. When the Jews had sufficient numbers, they stole the land. It was not negotiated for, nor purchased. It was taken by force of arms. A number of Palestinean towns who tried to hold onto their independence within this newly proclaimed "state" were attacked and subdued. A lot of young Palestineans died in the fighting. This is the ugly truth which is avoided by those who defend Israel. The Israelis have no intention of giving back more than a worthless sliver. But because they go through this charade of "negotiating" peace, they proclaim themselves reasonable. Yes... "reasonable thieves" offering to give back one hundred dollars of the million they stole. Let it be stated one more time. The land was stolen. And there will be no peace until the Israelis admit to this criminal, lawless act and split the land far more fairly than what has been offered.
Jan 22, 2013 2:22 AM CST
Benjamin Netanyahu is the only hope for lasting peace in the state of Israel. As an American, I see no other alternative to Bibi. Netanyahu is America's ally. The Palestinian Authority is making peace with Gazan Hamas. That means all viable Palestinian groups now are terrorist organizations. The U.N. has accepted Palestine as a non-member state. The only thing Israel can do is protect itself from Palestinian terrorists. All these terrorists want to do is enter a Starbucks filled with innocent women and children in Tel Aviv and blow everyone up. Israel must protect itself. And America is the ally of Israel. God bless America. Even Jesus loves Israel.