Photo: Tal Shahar
Diplomacy. Livni
Photo: Tal Shahar
Defense. Barak
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Economy. Netanyahu
Photo: AP

Parties reignite election campaign

End of Israeli offensive in Gaza marks renewal of political race ahead of nearing general elections. Parties aim to make most of short time left

The impending end of the Israeli offensive in Gaza Strip and the new, though still fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, have allowed politics to take center stage once again.


With just three weeks left until the general elections, the parties are gearing up for some intense campaigning meant to make the most out of short time at hand, and the fight for ballots promises to be anything but dull.


The Likud has opted to begin its campaign with a positive message, aimed to play off Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu's familiar strengths and experience.


The second phase of the Likud's campaign stands to focus on Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni's shortcomings as a leader, as demonstrated – according to the party – during Operation Cast Lead. "The less credit she gets the more Netanyahu is likely to win," said a source in the party.


"We also have to explain to the public why they should vote for us. We want to make sure that the public understands that Netanyahu is the only one who can provide solutions to Israel's problems."


Labor is also gearing up for a speedy campaign, but is said to be waiting for the situation in southern Israel to stabilize. Should the ceasefire prove viable, the party will relaunch its election bid, which focuses on party Chairman Ehud Barak's integrity and his ability to make the right decisions in a time of crisis.


The party, it seems, would prefer to conserve its resources and is unlikely to mount a negative campaign against either Livni or Netanyahu. "We are not interested in negativity," said a source in the party, "But nevertheless, we can't ignore reality… we've just had a war and it's very clear, today more than ever, that Barak is 'Mister Defense' and a man who proved he can keep his cool under pressure. We intend on using that in the campaign."


Kadima's campaign stands to focus on Livni's leadership abilities on one hand, while targeting Netanyahu's flaws on the other.


"We'll go back to basics and remind the public that the fight is between Tzipi and Bibi... We'll focus on things like credibility and leadership and remind the public that Netanyahu lacks judgment," said a Kadima source.


"Israel just wrapped up a three-week military campaign, during which it operated freely. The war ended with world leaders coming here to show their support for Israel… These diplomatic achievements are Livni's and we will make sure the public understands that."


Amnon Meranda contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 01.19.09, 01:54
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