Parliamentary elections in Israel might result in grand changes
The parliamentary elections in Israel are to take place in the beginning of the next year. The elections will look like a fight between hawks and doves. Ariel Sharon will be a hawk, if he beats his opponent, Likud’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu. Sharon is the leader so far, according to opinion polls.
The situation with “doves” is not really clear in the Israeli politics. General Amram Mitzna will stand up against the hawks. It is Amram Mitzna, who will become the leader of the opposition that stands for peace with Palestinians. It deems that the parliamentary elections in Israel became the competition of generals. Mitzna won the primary elections with Israeli former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. It is Ben Eliezer’s resignation and Labor Party’s decision to leave the government that resulted in new elections in the country. The image of dove has faded a lot after 20 years of working with Sharon side by side.
Ariel Sharon and Amram Mitzna have already met during a campaign in Lebanon in 1982. Young officer Amram Mitzna was disgusted about Israel’s tough policy in Lebanon. He sent in his resignation, having claimed that he could not serve in the army under the command of such defense minister as Sharon. Mitzna was exasperated after the massacre in Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatila. The massacre was caused by the pro-Israeli Christian police of Lebanon. Mitzna believes that Sharon was indirectly guilty of what happened there.
Back in those days, the prime minister of Israel asked Mitzna to come to his office. The premier convinced the officer to stay in the army. Officer Mitzna stayed; now he is a general, the opposition leader. As Amram Mitzna says, Sharon believes in military power. Sharon allegedly hopes to solve the problem by making each side capitulate instead of suggesting a dialogue. Mitzna says about Sharon that their positions have always been absolutely different.
According to the information from AP, dovish general Mitzna stated that if he was going to lose the elections of January 28th, he would join the coalition with Likud. However, there is a very important condition for that: Likud is supposed to accept a suggestion from the Labor Party to leave from the West Bank and from Gaza Stip. Likud is not likely to agree upon that. If Amram Mitzna wins the elections, he would single-handedly withdraw the troops and Jewish resettlers from those territories and resume peace negotiations with Palestinians.
Mitzna is intended to get back to the promises that were given by Israel’s last Prime Minister from the Labor Party, Ehud Barak. In other words, the dovish general promises to hand over 95% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Jerusalem’s Arab quarters to Palestine’s control. However, when Barak was the head of the Israeli government, Palestinians thought that it was not enough for them. Will it be enough in 2003? Mitzna specified that his suggestion would go together with the withdrawal of the requirement pertaining to the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
The “dove of Israel” is ready to conduct negotiations with anyone, who Palestinians would nominate for that. This position also differs from Sharon’s position, as well as from the position of many Labor Party leaders. They keep claiming that one should not trust Yasser Arafat. Mitzna’s policy might prolong Arafat’s authority. This might happen, if Mitzna is elected, and if Arafat does not call upon the people of Palestine to continue the intifada.
Opinion polls show that the population of Israel is getting more and more rightist, so to speak. Most likely, Likud and other hawk parties will win and obtain the majority in the parliament. If the voters change their opinion all of a sudden, Mitzna will have an opportunity to use another peace formula. This formula might be used in case the Palestinians do not wish to sign a peace treaty. The general will withdraw the troops and resettlers single-handedly anyway. Then he will build a “Berlin wall” and wait. He will be waiting until Palestine has a responsible and peaceful leader as well.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov