This post at the Times of Israel – Centrists feel the squeeze – is an authoritative opinion about the current state of play in Israeli politics as we head towards the March elections. (Remembering that a week is a long time in politics, everything could change, however.)
The narrative there – about the left and the right squeezing the center – seems to match my experiences and feedback received over the last week or so, in discussing the situation with people across the political spectrum. In short, Lapid’s voters are going to the left (in the main), with Labor now seen as a credible force. Lapid knows the challenge, and is trying to build up confidence that his way remains the best challenge to Netanyahu that will deliver what most people want: peace, security, and economic well-being. A tough ask.
If there is one area that keeps centrist voters away from Bibi, it is his lack of success in the peace talks. Whatever (valid) excuses Bibi can put up about the Palestinian blame for the breakdown of negotiations, what they – and I – would fault him for, is his inability or unwillingness to be proactive. He should have been out there with a coherent plan; an initiative that could have got Obama onside, and improved Israel’s political situation.
Lapid frames his regional peace strategy as a response to the alleged diplomatic failings of Netanyahu. “It is amazing that having sat with the prime minister as a member of the security cabinet for nearly two years, I still cannot describe his plan for our future security,” he told the [Jerusalem Post Diplomatic] conference.
Is there a peace deal to be made? I doubt it. But, as Dov Lipman asked so courageously, will we be able to tell our children that we did everything we could to make the world a safer place for them? As things stand, the answer is no.