After French voters yesterday ended the presidency of Rightist Sarkozy … and Greek voters punished the ruling pro-austerity coalition … will something similar happen in Israel?
This video says about itself:
Protesters marching in Tel Aviv against an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations on March 24th, 2012.
By Jean Shaoul:
Netanyahu predicted to call early Israeli election
7 May 2012
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is expected to announce a snap election for September. Elections are not due till October 2013, but his political manoeuvre has been forced on him by a government wracked by divisions and corruption scandals.
There is no indication that such an election, where Netanyahu’s Likud party is expected to be the majority party with 30 of the 120 Knesset seats, will lead to a change in course. Both the major opposition parties, Kadima and Labour, have said they are willing to join a future Netanyahu-led coalition.
The purpose of such an election is to provide a more manageable coalition, while at the same time giving undeserved political credibility to a predetermined policy of militarism and attacks on the social position of working people and their families.
Iran is a significant source of dispute within the ruling elite. There are major splits between the government and the defence-intelligence establishment about the Netanyahu government’s claims that Tehran is building nuclear weapons and its constant threats to carry out pre-emptive air strikes. Iran for its part has vowed to respond to any such attacks. This has led to unprecedented and very public opposition from senior current and former military and intelligence officials.
Last Friday, Yuval Diskin, the former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, warned against an attack on Iran, saying that it was likely to hasten rather than stop Tehran’s building of a nuclear bomb. He attacked Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, saying that they were “messianic” politicians who could not be trusted, especially on Iran. The two men were “not the people I would like to be holding the steering wheel” during a crisis, Diskin said.
Earlier, Lieutenant General Benny Glantz, Israel’s current chief of staff, in an interview with Ha’aretz, insisted that diplomacy and negotiations with Iran were bearing fruit, and that its nuclear capabilities were not as imminent as Netanyahu had made out. He agreed with US intelligence assessments that Tehran had not yet decided whether or not to build a nuclear bomb, and he did not think it would do so, as Iran’s leadership was “very rational”.
Glantz was echoing the words of Meir Dagan, the former head of Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence service, who last year described the Iranian government as a “very rational one”. He had called an Israeli attack on Iran the “stupidest idea” he had ever heard. In an interview with CBS last month, he said that a war with Iran would have a devastating impact on Israel because it would “ignite, at least from my point of view, a regional war.”
Tamir Pardo, Mossad’s current head, holds similar views. Last December, he told a forum of Israeli diplomats that he did not believe there was an “existential threat” to Israel.
Concerns are also being raised by Ehud Olmert, who headed a Kadima-led coalition, as well as by the newly elected Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz and Israel’s president, Shimon Peres.
These statements give the lie to the repeated claims that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, the ostensible reason for Israel and the US war-mongering against Tehran.
They will also strengthen popular opposition to war within Israel. According to a recent poll by the Israeli Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, 63 percent of Israelis oppose a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear power facilities, while an earlier poll by the University of Maryland put the figure higher.
As well as divisions within the ruling elite and broad popular opposition to the government’s threats against Iran, Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition is riven with dissent over domestic policies affecting their own social constituencies.
UPDATE 8 May 2012: the plan for early elections in Israel is off.
From daily Haaretz in Israel:
After securing unity cabinet with Kadima, Netanyahu is now king of Israeli politics
Berlin: Israelis and Iranians protest danger of war in the Middle East: here.
Coalition deal’s bright side: Days numbered for rotten government: here.
The first rifts in Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition emerged today — just days after he brought the main opposition party into his government: here.
Fire bombs are thrown at migrant workers in Tel Aviv: here.