Sunday, January 15, 2006

Apart from Arik Sharon, who remains the 'party' 's main asset as long as he is breathing, no one is helping the Kadimah campaign more than the settlers in Hebron and the other extremists within the settler community who are fighting our security forces these days. If the implementation of the disengagement plan made clear that the settlers' cause is not really a part of the national consensus anymore, the violent actions by their militants ( and the public statements made by a small minority of rightwing extremists after Sharon fell ill ) made the distance between them and the average Israeli even larger, it seems. Most of us just have had it with them, and if the moderates among the settlers do not start to distance themselves from the actions and words of the Hebron settlers - more convincingly than they did before and during the disengagement - sympathy for the settlers at large will become even less heartfelt. If Ehud Olmert turns dealing with the settler militants and the evacuation of large parts of the territories that remain under Israeli occupation into election issues I am sure that will provide his list with significant electoral support from voters who otherwise would stay home or vote Labor or Shinuy.
The question remains what is going to happen in the next two and a half months. Some political parties are imploding ( on Tuesday the Labor party members will choose the party's candidates for the elections, that could be not less interesting than the primaries in Shinuy and Likud ), Kadimah still has to make up its definite list, Sharon's condition is stable but vey worrisome ( if, heaven forbid, he passes away the time of his death could determine the result of the elections ), several illegal settler outposts plus some houses in the market in Hebron are supposed to be evacuated next month, Palestinian elections, Qassam rockets and other terror attacks, all these things can and probably will influence the results of the Israeli elections. Only on March 28th after the ballot boxes are closed and the votes are counted will we know who will lead us for the next ( here I should write '4', but coalitions and governments change too fast over here to say that with certainty ) years.

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