What the candidates in Israel’s elections say about the conflict

For a long time, politicians perpetuated the idea that Israel sought peace and a two-state solution, even while taking contradictory steps on the ground. In these elections, that dissonance seems to be dwindling.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a drill of the Armored Corps

Dahlia Scheindlin writes in +982, “The scramble to predict who might win the Israeli elections is understandable, but it begs a towering question: Will the next government actually change anything? To hone in further: Will it change Israel’s direction on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The left is inclined to say there’s no difference between centrist challengers Blue and White party and Netanyahu’s ruling Likud. Netanyahu’s campaign slogan “Bibi or Tibi,” referring to a prominent Arab politician, is a compact way of saying that anything to his left means the end of Jewish identity in Israel.”

“How is a voter to gauge the difference between the parties’ policies regarding the conflict? Maybe voters aren’t trying. A survey I did for B’Tselem in December found that just over one-fifth of respondents chose “resolving the conflict” as one of their top two national priorities — on a list of six problems Israel needs to solve, it ranked fourth.”

Moshe Ya’alon, Gabi Ashkenazi, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid of the Blue and White joint list seen during a visit with members of the Blue and White joint list on the Israeli-Gaza border,

“The parties appear to be mindful of the public disinterest. On Monday night, the Geneva Initiative held an event billed as “the great debate” on policy toward the conflict, scheduled with representatives of Likud, Blue and White, Labor, The New Right (Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s far-right party), and left-wing Meretz. Likud and Blue/White cancelled last minute. It appears that the leading parties prefer not to risk losing control over any of the few words they release on this issue.”

“The two most serious contenders for Israel’s premiership may not have shown up, but a look at their platforms shows what the parties claim to stand for. What do they actually propose? Do they differ from one another, and would they truly change current policies? Here at +972 Magazine we often analyze how Israeli policy plays out on the ground for real people – but what does Israel tell itself it wishes to do?” (more…)

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