The Israeli elections are only one week away and the three candidates are at it like hounds. What wins an election in Israel these days? Gideon Levy, reporter for Ha’aretz said it quite eloquently in an interview to Al-Jazeera:
“There is a domestic struggle between candidates and who will be more extreme and who will take a hardline stance towards the rocket fire coming from Gaza… The main lesson is that the Palestinians and Israelis did not learn any lessons from the war – it will bring more agony and destruction. Both parties are in a game of fools.”
Here are a few quotes from our candidates:
"We mustn’t sign arrangements with Hamas, but rather use force against this organization… Israel will respond whether the Qassam [rocket] causes injuries or not, and this is how I will act as prime minister as well. We must use force and a lot of force."
Tzipi Livni [center-center]
“All of these critics were in decision-making positions and Hamas never received such a blow as this. After eight years of [rocket] fire from the Strip, I arrived and gave the IDF an order to batter Hamas, with deeds and not words.”
Ehud Barak [center-left]
“I have no intention of building new settlements in the West Bank, but like all the governments there have been until now, I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements.”
Benjamin Netanyahu [center-right]
Out of the three candidates, Tzipi Livni has the audacity to talk about peace:
"These elections will decide whether we are ready to take that next step toward peace, and that is up to the citizens of Israel to decide."
Don’t get your hopes up, folks, this was immediately followed by the obscure:
"The choice will be between a Jewish state and a bi-national state. Will we be a state of fear or a state of hope?"
Ehud Barak may not win this year’s election, but he’s won them before and he’ll win them again. Because in Israel the candidates never really change. In the meantime, he can enjoy the comfy chair of Minister of
Offense Defense. Since the man has been very vocal, I thought I’d bring you some more fascinating quotes (limited by my translation):
On Spain indicting Israeli Heads of defense:
“Those who call the elimination of a terrorist a crime against humanity are living in an upside down world… [I] firmly reject the Spanish judge’s hallucinatory claims.”
“I don’t need Leibermans approval in security matters. He’s big on words, but not on action. In words he’s already destroyed Teheran and the Aswan Dam, but I don’t know how many times, if ever, did he hold a rifle and shoot someone.”
“If Israel was part of the security council, in the war, we could have acted like russia, but we can’t, and we would risk alienating ourselves from the world.”
On bright ideas from the center-left (this isn’t in Baraks words, it’s a quote from Ha’aretz):
“Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday proposed the construction of a 48-kilometer long tunnel that would connect the northern Gaza Strip with the southern West Bank, thus enabling freedom of movement between the two disjointed Palestinian territories… Barak said it was possible to dig the tunnel, which would remain under Israeli sovereignty while the Palestinians would maintain authority over the corridor’s traffic. The defense minister and Labor Party chairman said the project would cost between $2-3 billion, "a reasonable sum."