December 6, 2012 -Peretz Joins Livni, Confrontation Grows in Egypt Marc Schulman

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

December 6, 2012 -Peretz Joins Livni, Confrontation Grows in Egypt

The lists are finally set. So now, at least we know who is running for the upcoming Knesset. Like everything else in this country, the last few days have certainly not been boring for any political junky. How important these seemingly endless changes in the political map will really be is quite another question. The most interesting event was this morning's surprise announcement that Amir Perez, the former head of the Labor party, and former Defense Minister (who just a few days ago came in third place on the Labor party list) announced he was leaving Labor and jointing Tzpi Livni's new party. Peretz's official reason for switching parties was that Labor Party head, Shelly Yachimovich refused to make the issue of the peace process an issue for discussion. Peretz stated that he believed there can be no economic justice without first reaching a peace agreement. On this issue, Peretz is probably correct. However, Peretz also made it clear in his speech that this move was also personal. Peretz and Yachimovich did not get along. The fact that he felt left out of the "nner circle" of Labor was clearly a major factor in his decision to move. Where ever the reasons for Peretz feeling must leave labor, there is certainly enough blame for both sides to share.

Peretz brings the number of former heads of the Labor party that have joined Livni's fledgling party "The Movement" to two-(The other being Amram Mitzna.) Mitzna had a long and distinguished military career, after which he became the Mayor of Haifa. Mitzna resigned from Labor, after leading the party to an electoral defeat in 2003. He then went on to become the appointed Mayor of Yerucham, a development town in the Negev. Also joining Livni today was another general, Elazar Stern. Stern previously served as the army's Chief Officer of Manpower. Stern is religious and brings an interesting face to a party that is making its stand on the political-diplomatic front. 

A last minute update the Green Movement at the very last moment decided to join with Livni's party as well

All of the "musical chairs" in the left and center parties are likely akin to the movement of chairs on the deck of the Titanic. At this point in time, it seems unlikely that this fractured coalition of parties will be able to present a serious challenge to the ever more right-leaning future Netanyahu government.

Meanwhile, (in the news that really counts), the confrontations between Egyptian liberals and President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have worsened. Both sides have seemingly hardened their positions. Some more Egyptians were killed when the Muslim brotherhood attacked the secular demonstrators there last night. The secular protestors do not understand why their actions are getting so little play in the West. The liberals also can not understand why (by and large) the Western media seems to see their fight as a battle between two equal groups- as opposed to the view of Egyptian liberals, that their fight is a fight against totalitarianism. The historic analogy that comes to mind is that of the Spanish civil war in the 1930’s. In that case, the West mostly looked the other way, as Franco's fascist rebellion succeeded, with the help of Nazis Germany. The comparison is imperfect, but it's certainly food for thought.

Regarding Syria.. What more is there to say? It's only a matter of time-as the areas that Assad and the Alawites control slowly contract. However, no one knows how many will die in the meantime.

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