November 20, 2009

Dealing With Reality

Please excuse the delay, we meant to post this recent Haaretz poll earlier. Among several interesting discoveries, the study found, “impressive rising strength of the right and a serious shrinking of the center and the left.”

The Knesset stands at 65-55. The survey concluded that if elections were held today, the right’s margin would dilate to 72-48. If President Obama is having a hard time dealing with Netanyahu now, consider his trouble with a more conservative Israel.

Yet this tilt hasn’t produced the expected effect on Hamas. The Haaretz found 57% of respondents support MK Shaul Mofaz’s plan for dialogue with Hamas under certain conditions. “Inside Kadima the idea has tremendous support by some 72 percent of the party's voters,” the report stated. “But even 53 percent of Likud supporters back the idea.”

Hamas is becoming harder to predict, first pushing for elections, then stalling on reconciliation with Fatah, then denouncing President Mahmoud Abbas after calling for elections. How to engage Hamas - outside or inside a Palestinian coalition - remains complex.

Still, if political support exists, perhaps the return of captured soldier Gilad Shalit would open the door for expanded negotiations. Talking to Hamas, already a pragmatic strategy, could be making real headway in Israeli society. And if Israel accepts this fact, America can as well.

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