Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Akiva Eldar explains that Mitzna is not trying to win the elections any more (Hebrew link, requires registration – the English translation seems to have cut out the interesting bit). It seems that, having given up on winning the premiership, his goal, in the time-honored tradition of bad losers, is to put sticks between the spokes of the winner’s wheels. He gallantly intends to do his utmost to create a situation whereby the next elections will be necessary very soon. This is accomplished by pushing Likud into a coalition with the far right, thus creating a weaker government that will continually be contending with strong pressure for harsher measures against the Palestinians and will be victim to plenty of extortion for sectorial funding. All in all, an impossible (and in my view dangerous) situation for the whole country. Moreover, should the situation change (a cessation of Palestinian hostilities and a new Palestinian leadership, for instance), maybe as a result of the war with Iraq, in a way that enables renewing negotiations with the Palestinians, this will not be possible with a very right-wing government. Sharon doesn’t want such a government. Neither do most of the people, including most of Labor voters, according to polls. All this hardly increases my respect for Mitzna.

These wasteful and untimely elections were thrust upon us in the middle of a desperate, endless war of attrition, a terrible recession taking big bites out of our bank accounts and financial security (if we’re lucky enough to have any), and (if that wasn’t enough) war looming with Iraq. And all because then head of Labor, Ben-Eliezer, was doing well in party polls and mistakenly thought it would be advantageous for him (personally) to leave the government at that particular time.

Quoted by Amotz Asa-el in an interesting commentary, American political consultant, Arthur Finkelstein, says aptly: "When forced to choose between the crooks and the fools - the voters ultimately prefer the crooks."

Now which is the crook and which is the fool?