Thursday, November 06, 2008


The Middle-East peace process appears to be, as so often seems the case, in a state of arrest. The comparative calm of the five month truce was recently violated by both sides. Four Palestinian-owned buildings in East Jerusalem were demolished in one day by order of the Israeli governent. However, a development that may prove to have a more harmful effect on the procss is Tzipi Livni's failure to form a governing coalition. Unwilling to cave in to unreasonable demands from minor parties, she has asked Presiden Shimon Peres to call early elections. She trails Benjamin Netanyahu in the polls and, if successful, his administration could prove disastrous for the peace process. Ehud Olmert announced in July that it was his intention not to stand in September's elections. Since the new polls caused by Livni's coalition failure are scheduled for February 2009, and an effective government may not be formed until even later, due to wrangling over coalitions, Israel will have been under a lame duck leadership for six months!

This power vacuum is complemented by the period of transition that America is currently going through. While this can be a useful time for a President-Elect to form a strong cabinet, ultimately it is an error in the US Constitution that was only partly cleaned up when the inauguration date was moved back from March to January after the disastrous interregnum between Presidents Hoover and F.D. Roosevelt. George W. Bush, and many in his administration, desperately want to create peace between the Palestinians and Israelis before January 20th, and thereby repair his already tattered legacy. With the great expectation surrounding Barrack Obama's Presidential election victory, it is probably more sensible to hope that the tentative ceasefire can be reasonably well maintained until his inuaguration. Condaleeza Rice et al can do little to affect the situation and we should trust that Bush exercises his power, now unbridled by party loyalty or election worries, sparingly. Little can be done until all sides have resolved their internal struggles and electoral processes.

1 comment:

William said...

Fascinating Mid East blog, Alex - and I had no idea about the business of the interregnum being down to an error in the US consttution!