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Zalman Shoval PR Photo
 
 

Time for Likud, Kadima to reunite

So-called 'big bang' was in fact small; challenges ahead require reunification

Zalman Shoval
Published: 09.13.06, 23:09 / Israel Opinion

If there are those who say that Kadima's "future is behind it", fairness and balance would require them to admit that the Likud's current state does not quite honor its roots. And still, the reunification of forces from those movements is necessary – and a fundamental condition for securing Israel's future.

 

The Likud split that gave birth to Kadima was not ideological, even though some attempted to present it as such. At most, the background was strategic and tactical, and even barely that.

 

The disengagement from Gaza was a pragmatic step that many believed, justifiably or not, had to be undertaken in light of circumstances at the time. Meanwhile, most Likud objectors did this not out of pure ideological motives, but rather, practical security and diplomatic considerations, etc.

 

However, all this has no bearing on the missions to be faced by the national leadership in the coming years: The Iranian threat, the Arab and Islamic threat, and the search for a solution to the Palestinian question.

 

Even before Olmert announced he was turning his back on the Judea and Samaria realignment plan, it was clear that in light of the unpleasant Gaza experience and following Hamas' election victory, further wide-scale withdrawals are unthinkable.

 

Moreover, following the second Lebanon war, it will be difficult to convince anyone of the justification in moves that will turn the West Bank into a copy of southern Lebanon – while turning most Israeli areas into another version of northern Israel communities.

 

Indeed, in the coming years Israel's government will need to reinforce existing settlement blocks, bring other communities into new blocks, and possibly find proper legal solutions for some of the unauthorized West Bank outposts – as long as those were not established on private land.

 

Another theory proven false was that the Iraqi war removed the eastern front threat on Israel. This author has warned years ago the opposite was true: Iraq under radical Shiite leadership that can be guided by Teheran is much more dangerous than the threat posed to us by Saddam Hussein.

 

Labor camp's split was worse

Israel has already faced in the past difficult internal and external problems and threats – not always with full success, but overall we saw a steady incline. But how we'll we handle, right now and in the coming years, more difficult challenges than anything we knew since 1948 (and we're not only talking about enemy threats but also diplomatic battles with our friends, including our closest ones)?

 

Will we be able to do this amidst the current atmosphere of depression and complex political situation, with the national camp that encompasses a large part of the public so divided and split? After all, the "big bang" has not yet taken place; all we had was a small bang that could have been prevented had we not seen mistakes on both sides.

 

Most Kadima activists are Likud members. Most of them are excellent people who joined forces with an insignificant number of people lacking party attachment, such as Avi Dichter and political activists from other parties.

 

Dalia Itzik, Haim Ramon, and even Shimon Peres, despite his unique weight, do not change the fact that fundamentally we're talking about two parts of the same body, and there's no point or justification in preventing its reunification.

 

Through my experience I can attest that the contrasts and personal animosity found within the various bodies belonging to the Labor camp were much sharper than those separating Kadima and the Likud at this time. And yet, as a result of a logical analysis and political determination – and in fact because of a lack of any other choice – the Left was able to mend the rift.

 

We should hope, for the sake of the people of Israel, that leaders of Kadima and the Likud will not hesitate and do what they're tasked with – and if they fail to do it, activists on the ground will do it.

 

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