January 1st, 2009
12:53 PM ET

Gaza reshuffles Israeli political deck

Program Note: Make sure to watch Ben Smith talk about the Gaza conflict on AC360° tonight at 10p.m ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/01/israel.gaza/art.blasts.gi.jpg caption="Israeli air force bombs explode Thursday in Gaza, where more than 400 Palestinians have been killed."]

Ben Smith

Israel’s attack on Gaza is scrambling that country’s politics in advance of a Feb. 10 national election that will select the leader with whom the U.S. and Palestinians alike negotiate during President-elect Barack Obama’s first term.

Before the Gaza strikes, which entered their fifth day Wednesday after Israel rejected a plan for a 48-hour ceasefire, Israeli observers had widely expected the hawkish Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, to be chosen as the country’s next prime minister. Netanyahu has hired some of Obama’s consultants and imitated his campaign — but isn’t seen as an Obama favorite.


Filed under: Global 360° • Israel • Palestine
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Seems to me that Israel has tried repeatedly to diplomatically resolve the differences between themselves and Hamas and Hezbollah. Unfortunately, I don't think Hamas or Hezbollah want to settle with Israel; I think they just want to wipe them off the face of the earth which was the primary goal of the Arabs in 1948 after Israel was recognized as a nation. I don't blame Israel for defending themselves – I just hope that someone can bring both sides to the negotiation table and that peace can be achieved that both sides will honor.

    January 1, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  2. jim Fallbrook

    I don't understand why there is a problem with Israel attacking Hamas. It seems like the muslims think that Hamas is doing nothing wrong. They think there is nothing wrong with Hamas firing rockets into Israel killing innocent civilians. When Israel retaliates, they call Israel terrorists for killing members of Hamas and some innocent civilians. I grew up with muslims in Detroit. I know how they operate. They only understand brute force. That is evident with Saddam Hussein's rule of Iraq for over 40 years. I never heard of any terrorist attacks when he was in power. I hope Israel does not bow to pressure for a cease fire. They should take out Hamas regardless of how many innocent? muslims are killed. That would be considered collateral damage.

    January 1, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  3. Aren Foster 14 yrs Trinidad

    Israel distinguishes the hamas as terrorist but they themselves are no different. they both kill innocent people and children.but look at it this way if israel condems they attack on innocent people why are they bombing up the whole of gaza and nd looking like ther real terrorist.the world world is against. maybe just now it will be the new iraq war. shame on israel, pres bus and all world leaders.when children lose the hole family wouldnt they fight against israel and then be called terrorist.israel is the real terrorist. if they wantd to change something that is not the way.

    January 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  4. Mark Brand

    I believe that if Hamas would peacefully recognize Israel's right to exist like the United Nations did in 1948, quit shooting rockets into Israel that always aim at the civilian population and perhaps release the one Israeli prisioner they have which the Red Cross has not been allowed to visit one time (Israel has dissproportionally released several hundred prisioners as good will gestures with little in return) then you would have an end to the Gaza military conflice today. Perhaps then, progress could be made to give the Palestinian people the rights and liberties that all people deserve.

    Unfortunatley, groupls like Hamas and Hezzbalah recruit from an atmophere that is intentionally allowed to remain bad so that recruitment can continue.

    January 1, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  5. Alissa, Canada

    I would be interesting to know how many missiles where fired at Israelis during 2008.

    It's sad to see these states continually fighting. It's like a long drawn out sibling rivalry. In this day and age I have more hope that a resolution may not be far off. My hope is that reason will out weigh decades of emotion.

    There's no doubt that Obama's election will bring much needed healing to the US. I hope that this healing and change will be an example for other nations.

    January 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  6. earle,florida

    The situation will never end if the outside interferes with their trivial matters! Yes,"sand-boxes with boundaries" are indeed trival to the rest of the world's problems,...

    January 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  7. Cindy

    No matter who wins this election it is still going to be a big mess all around. But if someone gets in office that isn't too buddy buddy with us..or Obama it may make things even more strained. Especially if Obama sits on the fence and tries to placate both Israel and the Palestinians.


    January 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm |