Who will fight for peace in Israel?

Opinion: Left-wing parties Labor and Meretz have aligned and will pursue a socialist economic agenda that will not serve to attract any voters away from Likud or Blue & White

Sever Plocker|
Israel's political landscape needs a Zionist left-wing.
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  • It needs a political party with an agenda that calls for the full implementation of the 1993 Oslo Accords and Bill Clinton's December 2000 parameters for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - including an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank lands.
    2 View gallery
    אהוד ברק ראש הממשלה יאסר ערפאת ביל קלינטון
    אהוד ברק ראש הממשלה יאסר ערפאת ביל קלינטון
    President Bill Clinton, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David, July 2000
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Until recently, that need had been met by the Meretz Party. But over the past decade, the party shifted its focus away from peace to social justice, religious liberties and economic issues.
    The Labor Party has also abandoned the conversation of peace in favor of social and economic issues. These two parties have now joined together in advance of the March 2 election.
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    ניצן הורןביץ מרצ עמיר פרץ העבודה בחירות 2020
    ניצן הורןביץ מרצ עמיר פרץ העבודה בחירות 2020
    Labor Party and Meretz join forces ahead of the March 2020 elections
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Both parties define themselves as left-wing economic parties and insist they will demand more funding for education, health and social welfare.
    These are all noble and just causes - but they are already part of the centrist Blue & White platform and can even be found among the policies of the ruling right-wing Likud.
    Most of the public who live in what is recognized as the periphery of the country, whether in terms of geography or social exclusion, has felt some economic improvement in recent years.
    This improvement is credited to Likud governments, which are perceived as caring most about the socially isolated populations - as Bank of Israel reports can attest.
    These Likud voters have no incentive to find representation elsewhere.
    Israel is not alone when it comes to the unelectability of socialist agendas. Out of all European countries, only Spain and Portugal are led by left-wing coalition governments.
    Britain's Labour Party, which presented a vehemently socialist platform suffered a massive defeat in the December 12 elections, and the left has been beaten in traditionally leftist strongholds in Italy and Greece.
    The new Labor-Meretz alliance is not a viable alternative for voters as long as its message focuses on social justice and the economy and refrains from the pursuit of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
    It should also stay clear of an anti-Netanyahu campaign if it hopes to put some distance between itself and the Blue & White Party since firebrand anti-Netanyahu voters are most likely to support its leader Benny Gantz.
    Israel's political landscape has room for a left-wing Zionist party. It would be a mistake to believe that all Jewish voters have given up on their dreams of peace with the Palestinians or that they are not concerned about a resurgence of violence between the two peoples.
    It would also be a mistake to believe all Israelis are interested only in their economic prosperity.
    If the Labor-Meretz alliance were to make these mistakes – the next election results may prove that two heads are certainly no better than one.
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