No moderates left
Every ballot cast for Kadima, Labor and Likud is an endorsement of the last war and a vote for the next one.
The three leading candidates for prime minister are extremists. Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak went to war in Gaza and are therefore as radical as can be. Benjamin Netanyahu is more radical in rhetoric only.
We must not be led astray in this election campaign and consider both Livni and Barak as moderates, in contrast to the "extremist" Netanyahu. This is a deception. Kadima and Labor, the center and left-wing parties, have led Israel to two awful wars within two years. Netanyahu has yet to go to war once. True, he speaks more radically than the other two, but so far it has only been words, while the "moderates" have taken radical, aggressive action.
"Bibi is unreliable and terribly right-wing," Kadima's electoral broadcast asserts. Is he? Livni and Barak are just the same.
None of the people involved in the Gaza war can speak of peace now. Those who delivered such a brutal blow to the Palestinians, only to sow more hatred and fear among them, have no intention of making peace with them. Those responsible for firing white phosphorous shells into a civilian population and destroying thousands of homes cannot talk the following day about two states living peacefully side by side.
In one fell swoop, Ehud Olmert, who issued some of the bravest statements ever made in these parts about ending the occupation, singlehandedly turned them into a cynical babble of hollow cliches. Who will now believe that he wanted peace? And who will believe Barak or Livni?
This war unmasked Livni, the woman who had promised us "different politics." She, who as foreign minister was supposed to show Israel's sunny side to the world, chose to present an arrogant, violent and brutal face. During the war she boasted that Israel was acting "savagely," threatened to let Hamas "have it" and announced that the cease-fire would come into effect "whenever Israel decides."
As far as she was concerned, there was no world, no United States and Europe, no UN Security Council, and no bleeding and defeated other side - only Israel will decide. No foreign minister has ever spoken like this before.
In her pathetic attempts to assume a masculine, militaristic, even macho, posture of someone who would know what to say if the telephone rang at 3 A.M., Livni was exposed as a failed foreign minister, whose words and deeds are no different from those espoused by the radical militaristic men around her. No self-respecting voter who considers himself an upstanding centrist could vote for her. Whoever votes for Kadima will be voting for the right, which is eager to embark on any war and risk the accompanying crimes.
Voting for Labor also means voting for the war and its horrors. This war's marshal, Ehud Barak, has forever deprived himself of the moral right to talk of coexistence, political arrangements and diplomacy. If he really believed in them, he would have given them a chance before going to war, not afterward. Barak took the army to war and Barak must pay for it, together with his "left-wing" party, which joined the most radical, far-right parties in supporting the move to outlaw Israel's Arab parties.
Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu, Livni and Barak are one - they all voted in support of an undemocratic decision. And don't be alarmed by Lieberman - he, too, only talks. But at least he does so honestly, while Barak fires off salvos and deceives.
Granted, these impostors still enjoy the support of world leaders, but for many people around the globe, they have become war-mongers and suspected war criminals. Their diplomatic immunity will protect them - but who wants those leaders, with their bloodied hands, to represent us?
No less severe is the fact that there are no ideological differences between the candidates. Let Barak and Livni step up and explain what the hell sets them apart. What ideological argument are they conducting, apart from bickering on who should be credited for the war?
Facing them is Netanyahu - what does he have to offer? "Economic peace." After this war, which wasn't enough as far as he is concerned, his doctrine sounds even more ludicrous than ever.
This is how we're going into elections - with three leading parties that are hardly different from each other.
We always used to say, "There aren't any moderates in the Arab world." Now we are the ones who don't have any. Vote as you will, but don't fool yourself. Every ballot cast for Kadima, Labor and Likud is an endorsement of the last war and a vote for the next one.