How Will a Change in Israeli Leadership Affect Prospects for Middle East Peace?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 1, 2008
President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, and Palestinian Authority President Abbas

On July 30, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his resignation effective in September, when his political party will hold elections to replace him.

How will a change in Israeli leadership affect the prospects for peace in the Middle East?

Comments

Comments

Moshe
|
District Of Columbia, USA
August 2, 2008

Moshe in Washington, DC writes:

If the conditions were ripe, a change in Israeli leadership could make peace negotiations more possible. Tzipi Livni, who is slated to be the next Prime Minister of the country, is one of the more dovish members of the Kadima party. She was instrumental in the Gaza disengagement, and has held secret talks in the past with Palestinian negotiators, which basically means she could be the right person for the job. Unfortunately, Israeli politics are a very cruel thing. Her opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu, is hawkish and will try to rally support from the general public, and among the parliamentarians in the Knesset, to defeat her as a majority in the unity government. His main line will be playing up the Iranian threat of nuclear attack, and the inability to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians because of a lack of partnership in this realm. Livni will have to be firm with her stance on addressing the Iranian nuclear threat, while pursuing peace with Syria and the Palestinians by stating that there is partnership in this area, and she has the experience to show it. The majority of Israelis will favor this latter stance versus Netanyah's in my belief.

Another change of political winds that is starting to come about is an intolerance for the settlement movement in the West Bank. For the past few weeks, there have been skirmishes between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and settlers across the West Bank. This increase in altercations between the settlers and the IDF is representative of a growing distaste for the settlement movement by the majority of Israelis who are in fact secular and do not care about possession of the West Bank and would rather see peace. If my hunch is correct, Livni will be able to benefit from this growing change in political attention and stress the need to resolve Palestinian statehood with the West Bank as it is creating a divided Israel internally.

The last point that is crucial is Ahmenijad's role in the Middle East and his constant threats against Israel. His threats, and Israel's return threats, are causing an increasing shift of attention away from the peace process with the Palestinians and towards the larger issue of maintaining a stable Middle East. Israel's role with the Syrians cannot be overlooked as well, and any negotiations can only be brokered if Iranian nuclear ambitions are dealt with first. Though, despite Ahmenijad's desire to be in the spotlight, Assad and Israelis have been making gestures that they are willing to go back to the negotiating table.

In sum, the possibility for a change in Israeli leadership can result in a furthering of peace negotiations in the Middle East, though external factors may play an important role in allowing people who truly want to achieve peace to have a dialogue. Under Tzipi Livni's leadership, we may see a positive shift for regional stability.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
August 2, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

Peace in the Middle East is not related to any particular Israeli official. For peace treaty to hold for more than few hours, it must satisfy wide ranging interests by participants that have elements of extremism on both sides of the negotiation table. There are the assassins of Rabin and the assassins of Sadat, to give an example. Real peace treaty is more related to all concerned and effected parties, even if in remote areas of the region (Iran, Russia, France U.K, U.S) agreeing to a peace treaty terms that are comprehensive in nature and totality. If one party wishes were to be left out, the locally, or far away, disfranchised party, or one that determine that huge financial and strategic interests at stake, will almost surely find couple other allies that will scuff the whole thingy peace and postpone it for couple decades later.

Israel already maintains peace treaty with Egypt, Jordan, most Arab statesmen, including the Iraqi shakes hand with Jewish-Zionist leaders. It maintains friendly relations with Qatar and Turkey, negotiating with Hezbollah, meeting with Palestinian President, even worked hard on making International celebrity out of PLO leader Yasser Arafat. So what is left, a peace treaty with Syria? Not sure if that will change anything at all. In fact it will just set the whole region on fire as I doubt, Muslims of Syria will accept the Israeli flag fluffing and ruffling over Damascus and Aleppo Skies. If President Assad doubts this statement, try the experiment at your own determent. He could not even shake Olmert hand publicly in Paris or have eye contact with Israeli delegation.

Normally rated (low level of intensity) Peace is only achieved through STRONG AND POPULAR LEADERSHIP that can command the attention of all involved, is able to communicate through language and deeds to all parties and populous, the seriousness of the intent and the ability to deliver. Who is now in the Middle East that can meet those requirements, who possess this inspiring capability to be trusted as such by all to resolve this most challenging of Peace treaty ever in history, rated not normal, but of Biblical proportion. SNP can do. An advice to the next Israeli-Jewish leader, you want peace in the Middle East, contact SNP first and foremost, address the list of grievances, then we can go and persuade his eminence Ayatollah Khemenei and the notorious nations robbers Rothschild's and Rockefellers -- to agrees to it.

Ronald
|
New York, USA
August 2, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

Olmert's resignation gives Israel shot at a more transparent and accountable government. Caveat: Don't replace him with another corrupt pol.

Moshe
|
District Of Columbia, USA
August 4, 2008

Moshe in Washington, DC writes:

@ SNP in Syria -- I very much agree with your call for leadership in order to reach a viable peace. Historically, those who reached peace agreements were often attacked by the radical minority that plagues the desire of the common citizen. We saw it with Sadat, Rabin, and even domestically (for me) with Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. Tzipi may not be one of those leaders that is able to command the respect of all individuals to reach such concessions unilaterally. But, she may be possessing the right set of political traits that will allow for making concessions given the current sentiment of Israelis. True, she would need Assad to extend an invitation to renew such talks. She would also need support from the royalty of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, which, I believe, do want to see an end to this conflict. Abbas is the right person for the Palestinians in the West Bank, but we all know well that Hamas is not going to let it happen in the Gaza strip. My question back to you is what do you think it will take for Assad to extend a formal invitation for peace negotiations with Israel?

Zharkov
|
United States
August 4, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

How many "peace negotiations" have been held between Israel and arabs already?

How many changes of government have occurred over the past 50 years without resulting in actual peace for Israel?

What is anyone doing now that was not done earlier?

Real peace could cost Israel billions of dollars in lost US aid, so who is kidding whom about wanting peace?

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
August 4, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Israel is not a person by political rhetoric, it is an entity and for a person to alter what Israel represents is doubtful.

2. Were two of the greatest PMs alive today, Golda Meir and Menachem Begin, there would have been less diplomacy and a decisive end to the conflict one way or another. I do fear that sooner or later, they will tire of negotiations regardless of their elected Prime Minister and attack their enemies to survive. There will come a point in time when enough will be enough for the Hebrew Nation.

3. Given this, the end of Hamas and Hezbollah are mandatory. Iran will have to negotiate a peace and end enrichment. There will be no accord otherwise and eventually Israel will strike out. None of the listed items are in the realm of any new Minister to change, nor the International community it seems.

4. The claim is that changes in the US leadership base will affect what policies and diplomatic negotiations take place there. Be it known that both parties do support Israel and want peace in the area; but, the bottom line is that Israel has to live with the problems and I doubt US table talk will last forever, regardless of our Leadership.

Enough will be enough sooner or later..it is only a matter of time, not leadership roles.

IT is as great sin that the God Fearing Nations of the world are fighting each other while the Agnostic and Atheist ones are at peace for the most part, profiting and growing...

Syrian P.
|
Syria
August 5, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

President Assad is always welcome to contact SNP for opinion, our service rates are cheeeeep (no free service available anymore) and if Syria is short on Dollars, we accept Iranian Riyals but prefer Russian Rubles. The President so far chosen Baathists cadre to render advice to him. In order to have the Israeli flag ruffling over Syria, a monstrous contentious issue of this weight, the President must command wide support among the population on this matter. Wide does not mean 55-60% but 125-160%, otherwise there will be the extremist on Syria's sides acting up as well. The Ayatollah has publicly informed Assad that Iran would not allow Moslem Syria to sign a peace treaty with Zionists. Iran is positioned as the only country with the ability to stop this by force if necessary. Saddled between Hezbollah and Iran he has no choice but to accept the conditions which are the lesser of evil from his vantage point. There is also the issue of Aid, Syria seems asking for sum of 15 billions, not sure who will come up with this, Assad is dreaming that Congress will appropriate this sum. It is doubtful that Israel will loose aid should it enter peace treaty with Syria, the sum it gets from the States is relatively insignificant to U.S. budget and the Congress for internal purposes would not discontinue such aid.

Tzipi is unique; she is a Nationalist, so naturally SNP can relax with other Nationalists because we can understand the matrixes at work. But the problem with the Northern Border Peace is really not with Israel, they are ready to give it all at this point, the problem is in Syria, that is where the issues needs to be resolved. Like Syrians, Israeli not receptive to follow the Government Peace plan and referendum is called for here as well as in Syria. But it will not pass on neither side if Syria is structured the way it is now, I can not put it any simpler.

Israeli, backed by inexperienced persons and naive motivations, Sarkozi/Burn/Brzezinski/ Hamilton and crowds into a Peace with Syria on the basis that Bashar Assad is in control of Syria, that he is a minority that will side with understand the Jewish minority, that his regime is essentially a Dictatorship, and that his security forces can put down any uprising against Peace with Israel. Sort of the same mentality that once a U.S. Secretary of State stated to Bashar Assad: What do you care about the people, you are a dictator?.etc. Well, President Assad is smart and seasoned dictator, he understand what a bunch of armatures the foreigners are. He understands that even if he is a Dictator, he is limited by the wishes of the Syrian people or he will be facing the same bullet, Sadat and Rabin faced. Likewise, the Syrian populace accepts his rule on the basis that they trust he will do according to their wishes. Syria is not a Banana Republic kind of Dictatorship, like Bush U.S. run, with tail between the legs, rubber stamp congress and ADL-AIPAC security forces; it is, as always has been a sort of Syrian form of Stratocracy rule whereby the military, business, workers, farmers and city notables are somehow share in the rule. The problem in Syria today, is that the law of the land on the books (Arab, Baathist Socialism) is a whole different than the one in fact practiced. When this divergence is consolidated into one, books are closed on the old system and resolved to everyone satisfaction. Then Syria's President and Syria can move forward. Israeli can see it to their advantage to have a lasting peace with Syria.

Neither Sarkozi, nor Burn/Brzezinski going to convince Israeli to vote 70% on referendum that will bring Syrian-Israeli Peace. Only the People can, and only when Leadership is there to lead and convince.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
August 6, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Not much else to add other than to dig deeper:

1. Israel has the richest Socialist Party in the world. Their leader is seldom shadowed to his meetings, as with Putin in Syria some time ago.

2. Russia and Israel have moved closer together, including communication and radar purchases by Israel.

3. Negotations seem to be moving toward leverage by Russia as they hold the reins over Syria and Iran politically.

Susan
|
Florida, USA
August 7, 2008

Susan in Florida writes:

Will a change in leadership in Israel affect the prospects for peace in the Middle East? In one word -- no. Why? Because there is no real desire to have lasting peace with Israel by any of the nations surrounding her. The desire to eliminate Israel is too great. Do not believe this statement? Then please read "Jihad and Jew Hatred" by Matthias Kunztel, a German scholar who is not jewish or even religious. The recent rise and acceptance of antisemitism is frightening. This year on November 10th, it will be the "anniversary" of "Kristallnacht -- the Night of Broken Glass." In 1938 no one spoke up -- are we going to repeat this silence again in 2008? Let's hope not.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 7, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ SNP, Thanks for the chuckle...amusing it is to see that you all would charge Al Assad for "consultive services" at a cut rate and here you are on Dipnote providing those services for free.

I agree that when the people want peace, even Assad must listen, for even a dictator must cater to the political base that keeps him in power. Personal survival as a factor in his thinking may also be factored in.

Though I would suggest that in a democracy, it is not necessary to remove one's leaders with a bullet, as it is far more efficiant to remove them by the vote. Maybe someday Syrian politics will be representitive of the people, but no matter how you all arrived to this, you are all in the same boat now, and I suggest you all row together to achieve a better future for yourselves.

But each to his own I suppose, and that goes for nations too.

Seems a litte arrogent for Iran to tell Assad "they will not allow" a Syrian/Israeli peace treaty to be signed.

If Assad had any national pride at all, he'd tell the Ayatollah to take a hike, and do what is in the Syrian people's best interests, long term.

What's Iran going to do about it? Whine a lot I suppose, because militarily they can do nothing and survive the results. I think Ghadaffi got it right the other day when he said that Iran was acting out of arrogence and faced the same fate as Saddam unless they complied with the allies demands and UN resolutions.

But if Iran thinks it can actually tell a soverign nation who to be friends with and who to treat as "enemy" then only time will tell if Assad is the Ayatollah's puppet or not.

This I think must be of some concern to SNP, no?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 8, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"How will a change in Israeli leadership affect the prospects for peace in the Middle East?"

I'm not convinced it really matters except from the aspect of personal style in diplomacy. The Isreali gov. is committed to the road map -- two state solution. Negotiations in progress. That's not about to be jepordized.

This is more like a tag team effort, and folks wrestle with a solution awhile, and then tag up and let fresh folks hammer out the issues. Sometimes controversy speeds the process.

This has been the case for decades regarding this seemingly intractable conflict.

Gaza has become somewhat of a self proclaimed city/state totally at odds with a peace process agreed upon by most of Israel's neighbors, and has effectively placed a roadblock in the middle of the Road-map.

This issue will test the new leadership to the max.

Albert
|
Pennsylvania, USA
August 30, 2008

Albert in Pennsylvania writes:

Israel will survive better with any onther administration. You ask the wrong question. It should be like this: How are the prospect for peace increased if all the Arab states had different administrations?

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