Opposition in Israel Makes Hard Right Turn

Likud party, forecast to win election, chooses hawkish candidates
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2008 9:50 AM CST
Israeli Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu talks to reporters after casting his vote in primaries for the party's list, as his wife Sara looks on, in Jerusalem, Dec. 8, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud Party is leading polls ahead of February’s Israeli election, promises to continue peace talks if elected—but after primaries this week, the former PM will be heading a ticket including extreme right-wingers who have advocated withdrawal from the United Nations, or cutting off water and electricity to Palestinians. As the New York Times reports, the hawkish candidates may hurt Netanyahu’s chances.

Recent polls gave Netanyahu a lead over his main challenger, foreign minister and Kadima party head Tzipi Livni, although it was unclear whether the consequences of the Likud list had sunk in. And Israeli voters could be more focused on the economy than on Middle East peace, which many see as increasingly remote.