Backgrounder: Main political parties in Israel's upcoming parliamentary election 2009-02-10 01:52:12   Print

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Israel will hold its 18th Knesset(parliament) election on Tuesday, with nearly 5.3 million eligible voters casting their ballots for the 33 political parties taking part in the upcoming election.

    A final poll taken for local Channel 10 on Friday, before a moratorium on surveys took effect, found that ring-wing Likud's lead over ruling centrist Kadima had fallen to only two seats, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

    The Dialogue poll gave Likud 27 seats, Kadima 25, right-wing Israel Beiteinu (Israel is our home) 19 and left-wing Labor 14, said the report. The Knesset has 120 seats in all.

    According to The Jerusalem Post, the following are the synopses of the four leading parties' security and diplomatic platforms.

    Likud is led by Binyamin Netanyahu.

    On security: preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons must be the government's top priority, whether it involves rallying world public opinion to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions, or preparing for an appropriate military response should all other efforts fail.

    It favors toppling Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, promising to combat every terror offensive with a clear and decisive response.

    On diplomacy: prepared to make concessions in exchange for a true and reliable peace agreement, but negotiations will focus at first on developing the Palestinian economy to create an environment in which they could succeed.

    Promises to maintain a united Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and Judean Desert, and keep maximum territory with minimum Palestinians. Rules out further unilateral withdrawals.

    Netanyahu does not want to govern a single Palestinian, but would ensure that some powers associated with statehood would remain under Israel's control to preserve its security.

    Kadima is led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

    On security: the party favors forming an international and regional alliance to handle the Iranian threat, and toppling Hamas in the long-term, via diplomatic, economic and military means. It is ready to take determined action to combat any threat from Hamas and Hezbollah.

    On diplomacy: It maintains that the Jewish people has a national and historic right to the entire land of Israel, but has an interest to craft its final borders to end the conflict with the Palestinians and remain a Jewish and democratic state.

    It will continue negotiations with the Palestinians that Livni has led since the U.S.-host Annapolis conference, while advancing ties with moderate regimes in the region, in an effort to live together with a state of Palestine while maintaining areas needed for security, religious sites and as many settlers as possible.

    The party seeks peace with Syria, but urges Damascus to leave "axis of evil" first.

    Israel Beiteinu is led by Avigdor Lieberman.

    On security: Israel will use any means at its disposal to defend its citizens and ensure that terrorists pay a heavy price for attacks. Touts a plan to provide national security, personal security, economic security and educational security.

    On diplomacy: favors replacing land-for-peace approach with a mutual exchange of territories and populations, via the principle of peace for peace, land for land.

    It urges NATO and the European Union (EU) to assume responsibility for Gaza, expressing that Israel should join the EU and NATO.

Labor Party is led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

    On security: The party will use all legitimate means to ensure Iran's international isolation and the removal of its nuclear threat. It will determinedly fight violence and terror to ensure the security of Israel and its citizens.

    On diplomacy: It views the Saudi Arabia's initiative as a basis for negotiations with Arab countries on a regional and comprehensive peace, with a goal of reaching a binding agreement within two years.

    Aspires to end the conflict with Syria with a peace agreement based on territorial concessions and security arrangements, but Syria, in return, would have to change its regional policies, normalize relations with Israel and end its support for countries and organizations that seek to undermine Israel's existence.

    In addition to the four leading parties, other 11 parties are expected to enter the 18th Knesset, including Shas, United Torah Judaism, Meretz, National Union, Habayit Hayehudi, three Arab parties of Hadash, Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al, Pensioners, Green Movement-Meimad and the Green party.

    There are 18 more parties vying for public attention and votes, but they have little chance of passing the two percent voter threshold.

Special Report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts         


Editor: Yan
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