Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kadima Wins in Israel Election 

Ehud Olmert, the Kadima party PM who took over after Ariel Sharon's stroke, declared victory for his party early in the election count process in Israel on Wednesday. Now that 99.5% of the votes have been counted, it seems his victory is assured. Kadima is the party created by Sharon after he split from the Netanyahu dominated Likud party over the Gaza withdrawl (among other things). In case, you missed the report, the Labor party won 20 seats, and the ultra-Orthodox (religiously, as oppossed to necessarily politically) Shas party won an unprecedented 13 seats, making them the third largest part represented, even over Likud.

I believe all of this represents a victory for Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Sharon was on the right track with his Gaza withdrawl, which of course, upset the right-wingers who back Netanyahu. Now it seems Olmert will continue on this track and begin working with Palestinian PM Abbas (and hopefully with Hamas as well) on the plan for a withdrawl from the West Bank. Many people suspect that this election will provide the government that will determine the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state. If that is the case, then a Kadima victory may be one of the best things to happen. Now, Hamas needs to get on board. They need to agree to work with Olmert and Abbas on getting this done. As always, Jerusalem will likely be the sticking point. Only time will tell, but I believe Israel is finally stepping up to the plate to admit their mistakes and begin to do justice to the Palestinian people. Chesed may be too much to ask for at this point, but one can hope for an outbreak of it between Israelis and Palestinians!



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