Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Debka Analysis on Resignation, Government Instability, and Soldiers' Growing Resentment Over Expulsion

Israel’s ruling Likud party in radical shift from prime minister Ariel Sharon to Binyamin Netanyahu, who quit the government two days ago.

August 9, 2005, 10:15 PM (GMT+02:00)

According to a Haaretz poll Tuesday, 47.2% of Likud members back Netanyahu as prime ministerial candidate compared with 33.2% for Sharon.

In a three-way race, MK Uzi Landau who declared his candidacy Tuesday would carry 17% of the party, leaving Netanyahu still ahead at 35% and Sharon trailing with 29%. Sharon’s two challengers would therefore collect a solid 52% together.

Sunday, August 7, an hour after Netanyahu stepped down as finance minister, DEBKAfile’s political analysts offered this prognosis:

Sharon may have lost his own Likud for good. A large segment broke away when he failed to abide by the majority consensus to drop the disengagement plan. Netanyahu’s defection from the government will strengthen the anti-Sharon opposition, especially if he is joined by any of the four Likud ministers who voted against the first phase of the Gaza evacuations.

The prime minister’s hold on government may prove more fragile than he thinks. There are already pressures to bring the date for an early election forward to the early months of 2006. Sharon’s bid for a third term as prime minister will no doubt be weakened by the final split in Likud and the ex-finance minister’s open challenge to his leadership in party and country. This contest will come to the fore in the Likud primaries ahead of parliamentary elections.

DEBKAfile adds Tuesday, August 9:

Labor, which Sharon brought into the cabinet to bolster his evacuation plan, is in dire straits too, riddled with internal dissent and crippled by a five-way leadership contest. In the recent membership census conducted ahead of its primary, 90,000 slips were disqualified, of which 10,000 were found to be forgeries.

Refusing to show any ill-effects from the Netanyhau’s bombshell resignation, the prime minister’s office insisted nothing would stop the evacuations from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank going ahead on schedule next week. But as Sharon and his partners plunge forward, they are clearly laboring under strain. The public dreads the ordeal ahead and is losing faith in the present government’s ability to carry it through.

The military units assembled in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank for the evictions reflect the general public’s makeup. DEBKAfile’s military sources report mounting grumbles among the soldiers – less on political grounds, but rather because they feel they have been charged with a task that should not be in the province of combat troops. For all these reasons, the evacuations beginning next week are very likely to be upset by one crisis or another, whether politically-generated or sparked by a security flareup.


Blogger Cosmic X said...

Barry, did you see this

3:16 PM  

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