The status quo reigns — Lapid chooses Netanyahu over partnering with Palestinians

Israel/Palestine
on 35 Comments

The day after elections, the consensus in Israeli politics is on full display. Leading up to the election several commentators said that only hope of unseating Netanyahu was to bring Palestinian political parties into a ruling coalition to out number the right. After yesterday’s surprise win Yair Lapid was in a position to do just this, but he has announced that he would rather stick with Netanyahu than partner with Arabs.

From Ynet:

“Israel has voted for normalcy,” Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said Wednesday, in a first official statement after the party’s surprising rise to power in Tuesday’s general elections.

Yesh Atid, one of the newcomers to the Israeli political map, was able to secure 19 Knesset seats, effectively making it the second-largest party in the Knesset.

The results have split the House 60-60 between the Right and Center-Left blocs, sparking speculations – and hopes – that Lapid will team with the Left to create an obstructive bloc vis-à-vis Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Right.

Lapid, however, put the speculations to rest: “I’ve been hearing talk about forming an obstructive bloc, so let’s clear that up right now – there will be no obstructive bloc.

“We will not team with (Balad MK) Zoabi to form an obstructive bloc – that is just not going to happen. The results of the election are clear and we have to work accordingly.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Palestinian political parties have been excluded from ruling coalitions throughout Israel’s history. The fact that Lapid would single out Haneen Zoabi is also telling as she has become a lightning rod for anti-Palestinian racism in the Knesset. Lapid’s decision only confirms that this racist status quo reigns supreme in Israeli politics.

35 Responses

  1. seafoid
    January 23, 2013, 5:27 pm

    “After yesterday’s surprise win Yair Lapid was in a position to do just this, but he has announced that he would rather stick with Netanyahu than partner with Arabs.”

    And may I ask what did you expect to see out of a Torquay Hotel bedroom window?

    link to youtube.com

  2. seafoid
    January 23, 2013, 5:38 pm

    The status quo isn’t going to make it. There are too many questions that Israel can’t answer. Lapid is a deckchair rearranged. . The iceberg is waiting.

    • NormanF
      January 23, 2013, 6:21 pm

      Its going to last – and the reason being is that centrist parties are fly by night operations in Israel. This is what makes Yesh Atid so attractive to Netanyahu and in the end Lapid’s survival will be dependent on Netanyahu.

      • seafoid
        January 24, 2013, 9:05 am

        What is the basis of that assertion, Norman? Do you think Israel is Jewish destiny ? Or what other reason can you offer?

    • peeesss
      January 23, 2013, 6:32 pm

      There is no “left” in Israel. There is no “liberal” “progressive” Zionist as it relates to Palestine or Palestinians. Mondoweiss commentators should accept this reality. This is not a new observation. The Ben Gurions, the Kibuttznics , the Rabin’s, the Peres’s , do not accept a free, viable , contiginous Palestine on just 22% of their land. God {G-D} forbid a singular, Democratic State with civil rights for all its inhabitants. We should not wonder about the make up of the Israeli Knesset or its government. Whatever the result, A Zionist Government will not give Palestinians their legitimate rights . From Herzel to Netanyahu Palestinians are refuse to be dispersed, cleansed, eliminated one way or another. This has not changed in over one hundred years of Zionism. Eliminate the power of Zionism
      in the US.would ,of course, open up all avenues to a true , just peace. This is not on the horizon. See Hagels kneeling, pleading in front of organized Zionist, Jewish groups renouncing everything he ever said previously about, Israel and the “Jewish” lobby. Of course many commentators will say he “had” to cower before those groups in order to be nominated. It means “nothing”. I’m not so sure. But Israeli politicians, “right” “left”, ” center” if Zionist , do not give Palestinians any hope. Their own resistance , their steadfastness , their bravery in the midst of all the oppressive , violent tactics used against it , gives some hope.

  3. NormanF
    January 23, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Yair Lapid is a centrist – not a leftist. Most Israelis are right up the middle.

    Ironically enough, the anti-Zionist Far Left, the Zionist Left and the Haredim will probably be sitting in the opposition even though they have nothing constructive in common and will never form a shadow government.

  4. just
    January 23, 2013, 6:41 pm

    Disheartening in the extreme. SOS, different day.

  5. JeffB
    January 23, 2013, 6:42 pm

    Lapid supports annexation of multiple settlement blocks as part of a two state solution. In particular he considers Ariel a must. He supports strong security action, against Palestinian terror. He’s far close to Netanyahu than the Arab parties. Further Netanyahu has always had a strong preference for parties to both his left and right to balance things out.

    I’d say it was a no brainer.

  6. David Doppler
    January 23, 2013, 6:59 pm

    Jodi Rudoren was interviewed today on NPR’s Talk of the Nation: link to npr.org

    Her take is interesting in several respects, among them that the public still thinks a nuclear Iran is an existential threat, that the neighborhood remains very dangerous on the Egyptian and Syrian borders, and generally gives Netanyahu high marks for his leadership on these issues, yet decided to focus on more middle class domestic issues – make the Ultra-Orthodox work and serve in the IDF, e.g., apparently Lapid’s top rallying cry. She finds Lapid’s new-found ambition to be Foreign Minister remarkable given that he’s never taken a position on any foreign policy questions. She talks about the Settlers remaining safe from any near-term effort to evacuate them, but maybe the Ultra-Orthodox privileges get eliminated, despite their parties’ having been part of the old coalition government – Lapid is likely to require those changes in writing as part of any coalition deal. I came away with a sense of disarray – “Things fall apart, the center will not hold . . . the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.” To me they are like an invading army, far from home, that has decided to fire its general, and hold regular meetings to talk about what might be best to do next, with lots of viewpoints being expressed, but no immediacy or urgency to their situation, while hostile forces gather. This is a perfect time for someone else to fill their leadership vacuum with another way forward. Will it be a reasoned, realistic approach? Or one of the many that will lead on to massive destruction?

    • Citizen
      January 24, 2013, 11:54 am

      @ David Doppler

      Re: “– make the Ultra-Orthodox work and serve in the IDF, e.g., apparently Lapid’s top rallying cry. ”

      Never happen. They, the ultra-orthodox, give Israel it’s current Jewish spiritual “reason” for being. Better to conscript secular Jewish females for combat than to do that to an ultra-orthodox Jewish male.

  7. yourstruly
    January 23, 2013, 7:42 pm

    israelis had voted for normalcy?

    status quo?

    with the rich getting richer & the poor, poorer still?

    at the same time the zionist entity’s worst nightmare?

    palestine, just & free?

    now on the horizon?

    ever more real?

  8. yourstruly
    January 23, 2013, 8:37 pm

    the fear of sudden violent death?

    a survival instinct?

    beware?

    can be turned against the people?

    when fear is used to maintain the status quo?

    diverting attention from the real culprits?

    the designated demon?

    could be almost anyone?

    so long as it works?

    a tool of tyrants?

  9. a blah chick
    January 23, 2013, 9:30 pm

    “We will not team with (Balad MK) Zoabi to form an obstructive bloc –

    What is it about this woman that gets Israeli men going, that she is an uppity woman or an uppity Arab woman? Really, I want to understand this obsession with her.

    Anyway she’s still there and several of her enemies are not, I guess the people have spoken about that too.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 23, 2013, 9:35 pm

      What is it about this woman that gets Israeli men going

      she the smartest politician in israel but she’s the wrong ethnicity and the wrong sex.

      • Antidote
        January 23, 2013, 10:13 pm

        “she’s the wrong ethnicity and the wrong sex.”

        So is smart and uppity Hillary Clinton. Israeli men/politicians have no problem with her, do they?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 24, 2013, 8:56 am

        hillary clinton is not palestinian antidote.

      • Antidote
        January 24, 2013, 1:32 pm

        she’s not jewish either. My point was that the sexist/racist line of argument is not convincing

      • Annie Robbins
        January 24, 2013, 5:09 pm

        My point was that the sexist/racist line of argument is not convincing

        really? wrt what gets Israeli men going? and you think it has nothing to do with the fact she’s a woman? and a very independent and attractive one at that? think again.

    • Avi_G.
      January 24, 2013, 5:22 am

      What is it about this woman that gets Israeli men going, that she is an uppity woman or an uppity Arab woman? Really, I want to understand this obsession with her.

      I don’t think it has to do with the fact that she’s a woman. Ahmad Tibi holds similar views and he’s received similar treatment by Israel’s Jewish majority.

      Hanin Zoabi remains stoic, calm and resilient in the face of aggression and that is what makes Israeli MKs furious because they don’t know how to deal with that. You may have seen various videos of Israeli Jewish MKs attacking Arab MKs. Israeli Jewish MKs’ language of communication with Arab MKs is the language of force and violence, much like the Israeli authorities’ language of force and violence with Palestinians under occupation.

      It’s the non-violent Palestinian grass roots activism that scares Israeli authorities because they don’t do Ghandi well.

      Similarly, Israeli Jewish MKs don’t do civilized, calm and collected very well.

      link to youtube.com

      • yourstruly
        January 24, 2013, 10:12 am

        no matter what the situation?

        remaining stoic, calm & resilient?

        surely indispensable?

        the better to weather the storm?

      • Antidote
        January 24, 2013, 1:33 pm

        “Hanin Zoabi remains stoic, calm and resilient in the face of aggression and that is what makes Israeli MKs furious because they don’t know how to deal with that. ”

        that makes a lot more sense than the sexist/racist explanation

      • kalithea
        January 24, 2013, 8:43 pm

        Considering that one of Israel’s ex-PMs is a rapist, the sexist angle makes a whole lot of sense. Considering Israel is a racist, Apartheid state that stomps on the rights of Palestinians, the racist explanation makes even more sense.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 24, 2013, 5:05 pm

        Ahmad Tibi holds similar views and he’s received similar treatment by Israel’s Jewish majority.

        really avi, you think people are obsessed with him in the same way?

      • Avi_G.
        January 24, 2013, 6:48 pm

        Annie Robbins says:
        January 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm

        Ahmad Tibi holds similar views and he’s received similar treatment by Israel’s Jewish majority.

        really avi, you think people are obsessed with him in the same way?

        Annie,

        Don’t focus on the last two years or so, take their political careers as a whole.

        Historically, Tibi has sustained ugly attacks, as well.

  10. seafoid
    January 24, 2013, 9:07 am

    “Israel has voted for normalcy,”

    Not really. The country is split down the middle. The only thing they agree on is apartheid. There is no basis for a stable coalition.

    • yourstruly
      January 24, 2013, 10:24 am

      apartheid?

      slave vs slaveowner?

      on which side?

    • JeffB
      January 26, 2013, 8:12 am

      Split down the middle?

      OK lets pick different issues, transportation policy. You explain to me the massive unresolvable differences between the parties.
      Healthcare?
      The availability of contraception and abortion services?
      Bank law and bank regulation
      etc…

      Sure there are differences but the Israelis can find compromise legislation and common ground. You may not like the consensus but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  11. seafoid
    January 24, 2013, 1:01 pm

    All mainstream zionist politicians are afraid of the settlers. They all choose doing nothing to aggravate them over the future of the polity. It is pathetic.

  12. seafoid
    January 24, 2013, 6:09 pm

    link to haaretz.com

    “Most of the Israelis proved in this election that what they seek is nothing – maintenance, denial, and burying their heads in the sand. Benjamin Netanyahu has already proven in his years of office that he has no intention of acting differently.

    Lapid has also proven so far, in his campaign, that he has no other intention.
    But when there’s no better choice, perhaps Lapid will be revealed as a leader: “We’ve come to make a change”? This is his life’s chance, our life’s chance. He can become prime minister, if he only so wishes; he can also become the Israeli Frederik Willem de Klerk, if he is brave enough. Am I exaggerating? It’s the voice of despair.”

    link to haaretz.com

    “He’s not an extremist, heaven forbid, that’s not who we are, nor does he stick his hand in the fire, that’s not us either. He stays away from any divisive issues, just as Israelis prefer. Even when they took to the streets in that magical summer of 2011, remnants of which event were still evident on Tuesday, their protests turned out in retrospect to be encapsulated only in songs by popular singers Shlomo Artzi and Eyal Golan, without real substance. Lapid fits this mold perfectly, as characterized by protest singing in the city square, with no clear agenda and angry protest. “Let us Live in Peace” was the slogan of the General Zionist party in the 1951 elections. Let us live in this land was the slogan of many Israelis Tuesday. Let us live without Arabs and Haredi Jews, without wars and terror attacks, without the world and its preaching. Now, as it was then, this represents pure escapism. On Tuesday, Israel affirmed escapism.

    On Tuesday, Lapid acquired power that he most likely did not anticipate, and that he may not know what to do with. It is difficult to know if he can put some content behind the power given to him, but perhaps there is room for hope. For someone who managed to change his conduct and mannerisms in the course of the preceding campaign, shedding some of those that characterized his columns and TV appearances, growing and maturing in the process, it is possible that he will grow into the role thrust upon him on Tuesday. Perhaps with the power will also come some meaningful utterances and a willingness to fight.

    A new day is dawning upon us, a dawn of a day in which Israel only wants to be left alone with all its comforts. Only grant it Lapid and quiet, the terrible quiet at the brink of the abyss.”

    • JeffB
      January 26, 2013, 8:09 am

      I think what Israelis wanted and what they got was a normal election where the electorate fights about domestic economic issues, internal social issues and foreign policy last. And they got it. The Israelis managed to have a normal democratic election where they got to focus on the economy and different parties from Labor to Bayit Hayehudi presented economic programs and pledges.

      In terms of the Palestinians the Israelis have a consensus, more or less do what they are doing and muddle through.

      • Shmuel
        January 29, 2013, 1:59 am

        In terms of the Palestinians the Israelis have a consensus

        Not counting those Israelis (about 20% of the population) who are Palestinians, of course.

      • JeffB
        January 29, 2013, 7:25 am

        @Shmuel

        Not counting those Israelis (about 20% of the population) who are Palestinians, of course.

        That’s a decision they are going to have to make. As Israeli Arabs they are Israelis. As Israelis of Arab descent they are even more Israeli. As Israelis who had some ancestors were Palestinians even more. And that leads to interbreeding so in a very few generations everyone becomes an Israeli with a few Palestinian ancestors and there is no problem ever again.

        But as “Palestinians” now and currently, they are identifying with a foreign state that has engaged in multiple wars against Israel. Whether Palestine survives or not that identification ties them more closely to states outside Israel’s borders and thus makes them a disgruntled 5th column and a threat not an asset to the state. Israel has/is successfully incorporated some minorities, and they can be track if they want. Or they can buy into anti-colonial BS and not be on that track, ultimately it is up to them.

        I’m very happy that Israeli Arabs are starting to speak a Hebrew / Arabic creole rather than Arabic amongst themselves. That’s an important step towards assimilation. I’m very happy that during the worst of the 2nd intifada there were only a few incidents of them joining in. I’m happy that Israel is thinking of making enlistment genuinely universal, because having “served your country” is such an important part of earning respect in that culture. But I’m very unhappy that more and more the “Israeli Arab” / “Palestinians inside the green line” have started identifying again as “Palestinian” that’s a potentially tragic mistake.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2013, 6:06 pm

        “As Israeli Arabs they are Israelis. As Israelis of Arab descent they are even more Israeli. ”

        Waffle.

        “But I’m very unhappy that more and more the “Israeli Arab” / “Palestinians inside the green line” have started identifying again as “Palestinian” that’s a potentially tragic mistake.”

        Massah says niggas getting uppity again.

  13. Mooser
    January 24, 2013, 6:32 pm

    “All mainstream zionist politicians are afraid of the settlers.”

    Seafoid, what is the power of the settlers? From your point of view, what hold do the settlers have over Israeli politicians? I don’t quite understand it. I understand that Palestinians would be afraid of the settlers, but why are Israeli mainstream Zionist politicians afraid of them? I mean, what can the settlers do? Threaten to disband their illegal settlements? Is it the support settlers garner from outside of Israel?

  14. kalithea
    January 24, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Surpriiiiiiise! You really expected that Zionist elitist and egotist Lapid to side with human rights and the poor Palestinians???

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