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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 04, 2003

e tu, Fuad?

Amram Mitzna's resignation is just another blow to the all but defunct Israeli pragmatic left--and may well be the final blow to the dying Labor party. It is with historical irony that the strike came from within.

The long history of Israel's Labor party, back from the days of Mapai and the Alliance, is rife with internal bickering and back-stabbing. David Ben Gurion himself was deposed by the party, thrown out into the desert only to come back riding on the wings of the miniscule Rafi. If even Israel's great elder statesman, the man who did more than any other to ensure the cohesion and independence of the State of Israel, could not fight back the forces within his own party, how could we expect Mitzna to overcome.

True, Mitzna himself was no great elder statesman. I personally thought he lacked the luster and leadership to raise the party from the dead. But he certainly was better than Benyamin Ben-Eliezer, amicably called Fuad, who made it clear from day one that he will fight as an internal opposition within the party. In this case, a purge would have made sense--though I dare say that Mitzna lacked the political capital to carry one out.

In any case, with the Palestinian Authority embroiled in its own regime change, Sharon will not be sitting pretty for the years to come: with no true opposition to his leadership (Fuad is enamored with the man), and no strong unified opposition from Israel's pragmatic left, I fear that he will soon have to face the demons within his own party--which plan on forcing him to betray his promises to Bush's roadmap. While many would like to see that happen--and I too have my serious reservations--Israel cannot risk a split with the US at this critical juncture in geopolitics.

Fuad's ploy has cast all of Israel into a dark and confused time--a time that needs more clarity than any other. Too bad he couldn't get over the fact that, well, he's just not it.