June 10, 2014
The saga of electing a new president to Israel and the several scenarios for the peace process.
The Likud candidate, Ruvi Rivlin, was just elected as the new president of Israel but we have also to pay attention that the Hatnua candidate for president, Meir Shitrit, gathered momentum in the last stage of the race and from the back benches jumped to the front as fore-runner.
This last moment development occurred as a result of the corruption scandals that accompanied the campaign that caused the large group of Dalia Itzik's supporters to shift to Shitrit. The reason was – Itzik was the main suspect of causing the interception of Ben Eliezer's and Sylvan Shalom's candidacy and there was a common wisdom that once she would be elected- the revenge will soon come and toss Israel into another scandal with another questionable president.
The heavy cloud of corruption scandals covered the real issue that split The House: the peace process with the Palestinians. The issue was a president that will continue the legacy of the outgoing president Shimon Peres of pressuring hard for the peace process, or a president that prefers the domestic agenda of Israel.
When we understand that – we can better explain why Shelley Yehimovitz the former Labor Party leader decided to support Rivlin, ignoring the criticism inside her party that Rivlin is a headliner that supports to idea of annexing the West Bank to Israel. She replied that Rivlin was not corrupt – hinting at corruption allegations to Labor's candidate- Binyamin Ben Eliezer. But of course a politician is not preferred only because he is not corrupt, but for real reasons and the main reason why Yehimovitz preferred Rivlin was that she preferred to return to her original agenda that was to put aside the "Palestinian track" in favor of returning to the domestic agenda of Israel.
While Rivlin will be the opposite of Peres, Shitrit was expected to be the continuation of Peres and his elections might have marked a momentum for the several political programs of the right wing parties of Israel.
This maybe an opportunity to give a quick description of the several ideas that are running now inside the Israeli right that may come now to the fore-front. First of all, Rivlin's ideas to annex the entire West Bank. His affection to united Jerusalem is emotional. This approach is typical to a leading current among the settlers leadership. They claim that the demographic numbers are in favor of the Jews and there is no fear that the Palestinians will outnumber the Jews in the demographic race once the West Bank is annexed.
This is exactly the opposite idea of Avigdor Lieberman and this is why he opposed Rivlin all the way. He is concerned about the demographic numbers and preaches for a territorial exchange with the Palestinians that will be decided by the current spread of sentiments blocks on the one hand and the Palestinian spread inside Israel- to be more specific—the exchange of the Arab Triangle in Israel with the settlements blocks in the West Bank.
Hence, while the Lieberman needs a Palestinain partner – Rivlin does not. To the contrary- while Lieberman wants to pass the Israeli Arabs to the palestrinain Authrotty and hence he qurrles woth them, Rivlin fporesee them as part of Israel and hence he devlpoed firnfdly raltions with the Israli Areagfbas.
But we have to keep in mind that Prime Miniater Netanyahu he is the one who decided and he is not supporitn nay of them. He is for presenvign the atatus quo becuas e he perceive the entire palestinain issiw as a headache that destrcaut him from the mkain issiw- Iran.
In a near opportuniuty qwe shall give a description of the everqal iseras in the Isaraeli leef tha tare still valid despite the setback caused ot them by Rivlin beighn electlected as the new presaidnet.