Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Post Election Analsys...and Sinister Undercurrents

Tuesday morning, Israeli election day. Southern Israel, 11:36 AM. One of the numerous electronic devices on my belt informs me that: Palestinians Fire Katyusha Rocket at Ashkelon.

Previous Prime Minister Yitchak Rabin's promised that Katyusha rockets would never be fired at southern Israel from Gaza... and he said such talk was total nonsense of the hysterial right.

Ariel Sharon said the same thing before the Disengagement.

I was reminded of Yossi Sarid's remarks from 12 years ago:
"A Palestinian state that endangers Israel," declared Yossi Sarid, the Meretz Party leader, "will cease to exist." Sarid actually added that "if one katyusha [Soviet-made rocket] falls on [the Israeli town] Kfar Sava, then [the Arab town] Qalqilya will cease to exist."
Sarid was lying then, just as Olmert is lying now.

Promises, Promises, Promises.

Most Israelies don't bother believing the promises of Israel's politicians anymore, which is why yesterday's voting turnout of 57% was the lowest in Israel's history.

Their promises are worthless.

But for "someone" to impose a media blackout on the Katyusha attack information till 10 PM last night, AFTER the polls had closed? Who would want this information kept from the public? What possible reason could there be to censor such information from the voting Israeli public that a Katyusha missile had been fired at Ashkelon from Gaza? This should be a serious warning of what Olmert and Quadima are capable of doing to manipulate public opinion.

As I've lamented before in the past, Israel has no clue how to negotiate. (except for Amir Peretz, but we don't like him). Olmert already announced that he's willing to evict Jews from the "land we love"...and Abu Mazan should come a' running to discuss it with us.

What better way to start a negotiation, than to openly declare up front what painful concessions Israel is prepared to give up? This is basic negotiation blunder number #1. Israel's lack of PR is blunder #2 -- you can thank Shimon Peres, who in 1993 shut down the PR/hasbara department of the Foreign Ministry, claiming that Israel's peace accords with the Palestinians will be our "PR department." Another genious.

Election Analysis

If you examine the pre-election polling information, not one company put support for Quadima at less than 32 seats.

In fact, only 2 bloggers (that I know of) put the "real" numbers on their blogs: The Muqata...and Rock of Galilee...and we both hit the Kadima number spot on.

(granted, we both overestimated Likud, but that was wishful thinking)

Avigdor Liberman's (Yisrael Bayteinu/National Home) party gained 12 seats at the expense of the Likud, and alot of the diehard Likud people I spoke to yesterday all confirmed that they had switched from Likud to Liberman.

The big surprise was the pensioner's party...that's it. Nothing else was really surprising. The potential right-wing/religious is 51 seats, and that's expected after Sharon destroyed the Likud party.

What's interesting is that even with the pensioners, the Left only has 59 seats (excluding the Arab parties), so they'll be faced with the same dilemma they faced in '92. Will Shas be willing to be the Left's fig leaf once again? For enough money and Misrad HaP'nim, probably, but it's less clear this time 'round. (hattip: RK)

So where do we go from here? Olmert got a lot less seats than he had been dreaming of, and he overshot his promises to cronies and hacks about potential government seats. Expect a boat-load of bickering and backstabbing in the Quadima party.

In Israel, the night after an election disaster (such as Quadima's under 30 seat showing, or Likud's miserable showing), is often reffered to as: "the night of long knives." This is when the proverbial knives come out and everyone stabs everyone else in the back. Expect Silvan "Steve Goodbye" Shalom to be sharpening his against Bibi Netanyahu.

At the end of the day, I think Palestinian terror, and internal political strife is going to keep Israel too preoccupied from additional disengagements in the near future.

Time will tell.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


bluke said...

Check out my analysis. From a diplomatic perspective I am not as pessimistic, I don't think Shas, Yahadut Hatorah, or Lieberman will agree to a unilateral pullout. Sha, I think learned their lesson. On the economic front, I think we are in big trouble. With Labor, Shas, and the Pensioners, the government is going to be spending a lot of money.

Rafi G said...

I predicted 26 for kadima in my prediction post

bluke said...

An interesting coalition possibility if Netanyahu is deposed or resigned. If that happens, Labor could make a government with the following parties:
Labor - 20
Yisrael Beitenu - 12
Shas - 13
Yahadut Hatorah - 6
Likud - 11

62 seats

I think that this would be better then Olmert making a government. This would allow the Likud and Labor to effectively kill Kadima. Kadima would not survive as an opposition party.

Oleh Yahshan said...

I am not sure why you would call Yosi Sarid a Liar he said that a Katyusha wouldn't fall on Kfar Saba - well it didn't it fell on Ashkelon (is that even in Israel according to the Ramat Aviv, people that live here?). The worst part about it is that no one really cares about it anymore. Not even you Sderton Resident Amir Peretz.

I agree with Bluke about the Diplomatic area. I don't see Shas voting to give up land for nothing they came out today with the statement that they will be the Likud with a Kipa (in Ynet).
AS for the economics 2 options: either the 3 social parties (Shas, Avoda and Gimlai'm) will fight over things all the time and nothing well be done, With Olmert (who is an economic bibi fan). or as Blike put it we will be spending a lot of money. I just hope that Bibi did a good enough job that our economy survives what they have planned for it.

Also on the Hitkansut, I don't see the people in Israel supporting something like that again. not in the next Decade or two. we are not talking about 8-10 thousend people, but more than 60-80 thousend. that is a big difference, and I just don't see how it would work.

I wish us the best of luck in the next few years but most likely - I will see you in the next Demonstartion when Olmert tries to pull off another Amona.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OY: You are correct that Sarid didn't say anything about Ashkelon, but there's no real difference. There's even been shooting directly at Highway-6 from Kalkilya, and no one really cares. No one cares about the Katyushas from Gaza either.

I'll see you at the next pre-Amona demonstration...I'll be the one wearing orange ;-)

Bluke: Halevai that there would be a government without Kadima. That would be the best for everyone, as Kadima would self-destruct.

However, I predict that if Kadima forms the government, it won't last 2 years.

Rafi G: Kudos to you - we'll add you to the Muqata expert polling team! :-)

I'll see you at the next pre-Amona demonstration...I'll be wearing orange ;-)

bluke said...

If the Likud dumps Bibi, I think a Labor led government is a real possibility.

I agree that if Kadima forms a government it will not last more then 2 years.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Bluke: IMHO, if the Likud dumps Bibi it will be much harder to form a government with Labor, since Steve Shalom is very close to Kadima. (and was very close to jumping ship to join them).

westbankmama said...

Jameel, the only thing that we know about the next government is that they will have to spend a LOT of money - between the pensioners, labor, and Shas (YES, they will go in for $$$, I have absolutely no doubt about it).

How deep are the governments pockets?

Ben Bayit said...

The election result was probably the best that could be hoped for under the situation. A fractious divided knesset with no strong bloc one way or the other. This has usually meant good things for Yesha in the past.

Olah Chadasha said...

jameel, yeah, I am totally jaded right now. I understood the reasons, at least militarily, behind Gaza's disengagement, as you very well know. But, I believe that this unilateral philosophy is extremely dangerous. I mean, that philosophy as applied to Gaza is not doing so well, to say the least. I understand the desire to just set the borders, bring our people into them, and wipe our hands clean of the Palestinians once and for all. I understand that because I've had that thought many times; that would be the easy and fast way to shut ourselves off from them. But, I also understand that that's just not the reality of how things work. If we just give in and "go home", then I'm afraid we won't have an Israel for very much longer. you know what I mean? Olmert, himself has made these statements. He's said that he's tired of fighting, tired of WINNING, and just wants to quit the whole thing. And, this is our Prime Minister? G-d help us all. How can Israel succeed with such a defeatist at the helm?

I'll be with you and my husband. I wonder how Mr Olmert would feel when he proposes another disenagement and finds 4+ million people protesting in the streets. Is it wrong of me to think that this government will not last very long, and definitely not 4 whole years?

Oleh Yahshan said...

I hope you understand that I was being Sarcastic about the Sarid Remark. And That is not true, about Kvish 6, Since we put that nice wall up, amazing how little shooting take place there, thank G-D.

The Govt. Pockets are as deep as they would like, We call it A Deficit, and Peretz has no problem running up a deficit if it means he can give money away.
What I want to know is what is going to happen the first time he wants to go on strike (the thing he does better than anything else), does he negotiate with himself to get more money?

Scraps said...

Four words: G-d. Save. Us. All.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OY: I see that wall often...and I'm sure it makes the Kfar Sava people feel very safe from Kassam rockets.

Jerusalem Dreams said...

My, how times have changed in Israel. Remember when Rabin sent several bus loads of Hamas terrorists and left them on a hill top in S. Lebanon ? How about when he promised to break the arms and legs of the terrorists at the beginning of Intifada I ? Or when we gave them guns, how they promised how easy it would be to reoccupy Gaza and Ramallah if need be. Remember how the Arrow anti-missile missile was supposed to protect us from incoming attacks ? Remember when a Jew was killed by terrorists all of Israel's radio stations would play Shire Eretz Yisrael and entertainment programs on TV were canceled that evening and how politicians used to pay a shiva call to the victims family ?

Joe Settler said...

wbmm: It's not how deep are the governments pockets. It's how deep are our (the citizens) pockets that they will be digging deeper into.

Milhouse said...

Indeed. I was starting to consider aliyah seriously. I'm not, now, until I see how these things turn out. If Voldemort and the socialists are bent on committing both physical and economic suicide, I'm staying here in the USA, where we have a more or less sane government (even if, chas veshalom, the Ds make gains in 2006 and 2008). More and more I'm coming to the view that the best solution for Israel is to give up on the idea of a Jewish state, and persuade the USA to annex it.

And yes, if I were voting in yesterday's election, I would have seriously considered Yisrael Betenu.

Anonymous said...

Sorry/ But You not right! It was not till 10 PM// It was till 20.00.
( media blackout on the Katyusha attack information)
Saul from TA

Greg said...

I hope your prediction comes true and pali terror simply doesn't allow Kadima to give up any more land though that would come at the price of many Jewish lives and maybe I've just sinned by saying that.

Be'tikva, Eitan.

daaty said...

I'm sorry wishful thinking.I don't put it past Olmert to use arab votes.

Don Radlauer said...

Jameel, a couple of corrections:

1) Voter turnout was 63.2%, not 57% as you reported. The YNet story you cite says quite clearly: "Only 57 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots by 8 p.m." (Italics mine.) Considering that the turnout figures are based on the full contents of the population registry and that about 10-15% of Israeli citizens are currently overseas and unable to vote, that means that the "real" turnout among Israeli citizens who are registered, eligible, and present in the country was between 70% and 74% - not exactly stellar, but not exactly abysmal either.

2) There was no "media blackout on the Katyusha attack information till 10 PM last night". I was driving to Rishon leTzion with Vaguely Sinister Wife, on my way to perform with my Barbershop group at a contest. We heard the 16:00 Kol Yisrael news (I had to be at the cultural center at 16:45), and the Katyusha story was reported at that time. For all I know it was also reported at 15:00 or even earlier, but the one time I heard the news yesterday was at 16:00. Where did you get the idea that the news was suppressed?

These may not be super-gigantic points; but I know that when I read articles that have obvious factual errors like these - errors that are not matters of interpretation, but just basic fact-checking - I start losing confidence in the other statements of fact where I don't know whether they're true or not.

Oleh Yahshan said...

There was a black out on the Katyusha story, Jameel is not the only one to point it out,
(sorry about the link in Hebrew, it's all I have).
Ehud Yaari Made the same statement last night on Channel 2 news, adding that it sounds political the way it was done.

What you might of heard on the Radio is that Kassamim were falling in Israel.

even if you don't make Aliyah we can use your help to fight off the evils of olmert's plans.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Don: Ehud Yaari on the midnight show on TV said that the media blackout of the katyusha falling on Ashkelon is "worthy of a parlimentary investigation." His words, not mine.

And even if he doesn't work for the Muqata, you can't consider him a right wing conspiracy theorist.

Ynetnews even wrote "Cleared for publication" because of the "Tzav Issur Pirsum" on the issue.

Channel Two news also stated on their news program (while I don't have a link for it) that it was the lowest voting turn out in Israel's history. Again, their words, not mine.

I try to keep my information as accurate as possible based on the news I hear, and read. If their reporting is inaccurate, please take it up with them.

Lastly - for Ehud Yaari to have made such a big deal out of the media blackout on TV, should be a telling statement in and of itself.

Don Radlauer said...

Thanks, O.Y. - but I'm afraid the Hebrew link doesn't help me much; my Hebrew reading skills are abysmal.

I do know that the report I heard on the radio clearly mentioned a Katyusha, as Vaguely Sinister Wife and I discussed it at the time. There is no question that this was during the afternoon rather than at night.

Haaretz does report the fact that the military censor released the story for publication at 8:00 P.M., two hours before the polls closed; their report doesn't make any big deal about the issue. As I don't get TV (not a religious thing, I just don't want to spend my reading time sitting in front of the tube), I can't vouch for Ehud Yaari; in fact, I barely know who the guy is. (Evidently a newscaster of some sort.) In any case, I rather doubt that yet another missile that failed to injure anyone or cause any damage would have significantly changed the election results even if it had been reported the day before; Bibi Netanyahu had spent weeks trying to get us all to panic about missiles and the like, and nobody seemed to care much. Now if a "successful" suicide bombing had taken place and been hushed up, then you'd have something; but in this case I think a mountain is being made out of a molehill.

I never denied that yesterday's voter turnout was a record low for Israel; but the correct figure is 63.2%, not 57%. This figure, while low by Israeli standards, is not particularly low by the standards of other Western countries - especially when adjusted to take into the account the fact that Israel, unlike most other countries, does not allow absentee voting by citizens traveling or residing abroad. This means that our nominal voter base of about 5,000,000 voters includes between 500,000 and 750,000 people who in fact are not present in Israel and thus cannot cast a vote. The effective turnout, 70-74% of those present and eligible, may be low for Israel but it's still quite respectable by world standards. Considering also that the average was brought down by Israeli Arabs (only about 30% of Negev Bedouin voted, for example), the participation rate of Jews actually living in Israel was fairly high even if it has been higher previously - certainly high enough that the election results should be considered "real".

Of course, I firmly believe that every citizen (or at least those residing in Israel) should vote. I simply don't think that the relatively low turnout this time in any way invalidates the results of the election.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Don; I'll work on getting more info on the media blackout for you.

Ehud Yaari is a very respected news/media analyst who specializes in the Arabic analysis department.

I don't think anyone implied that the relatively low turnout invalidates the results of the election -- my point was, that there is alot of apathy about the election, which is why the voting turnout was so low (from a subjective Israeli perspective).

yitz said...

I heard that the Pensioners' Party got a lot of votes after many young people, who were planning NOT to vote [given the wonderful choice of candidates available], heard that they would probably make the threshhold - so they went to vote for them as a protest vote. Can anyone substantiate this? That would be an amazing feat - 7 seats on a basically apathetic protest vote!

yitz said...

Furthermore, 63% voter turnout, when in past elections it had been 80-85% and more, and overseas Israelis actually FLEW INTO ISRAEL in order to cast their vote, certainly shows apathy and a lack of real options.

Joe Settler said...

The Ministry of Information has informed us that the correct term is no longer 'disengagement'. All use of the term 'disengagement' must cease and all documents and blogposts must be properly back-corrected.

For the new and proper term and its correct usage, please see my blog:

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