Peace Is Big Loser in Israeli Election

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 10:31 AM CST
Israel's Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Lieberman.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The indecisive Israeli election will likely produce weeks of wrangling and coalition building, frustrating both Israelis and the Obama administration, which had hoped for an immediate partner in Mideast peace talks, Time reports. Though Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima party slightly edged out Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, he is seen as the eventual choice for prime minister, and the Likud-led government he forms will likely include the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party.

With the Likud doubling its seats and the ultra-nationalist Yisrael making gains, what's likely to emerge is a government that's not interested in peace talks, the Washington Post notes. Yisrael’s leader said “we want a right-wing government” with its goal “the defeat of Hamas.” Likud’s hopes for a win were hurt by a strong Arab backlash—Arab parties picked up 11 seats in the Knesset. “The Zionist parties all supported what happened in Gaza,” one leader told the Post, “so Arab voters reacted by voting for us.”