The New York Times is as far away from a realistic view of things Middle East as the Obama White House.

 
It's post election analysis was some element of bitter grapes, and dreaming about possibilities that do not exist.
 
Its emphasis on deep wounds resulting from a bitter Israeli election campaign race differed greatly from Moshe Kahlon's closer to reality comments that it was a time for reconciliation, and healing whatever wounds were created by campaign slogans not meant to be personal or to get in the way of political negotiations.
 
To the New York Times, Netanyahu had "angered the president of the United States with a speech to Congress and infuriated European leaders eager to see the peace process move ahead to create a Palestinian state."
 
The reality is that the greater barriers to a Palestinian state come from the Palestinians than from Israelis. That should be apparent in their record of turning down proposals from Barak and Clinton in 2000 and Olmert in 2007, and not able to mutter the symbolic words about Israel being a Jewish state or a state of the Jewish people in 2014.
 
Compared to the nasty epithet of racism used against Israel and Netanyahu's campaign was Arab turnout and the United (Arab) List becoming the third largest party in the Knesset. It is Palestinians who target Israeli civilians with their rockets, knives, and cars, while insisting that no Israelis (or perhaps no Jews)  would be allowed to live in the State of Palestine they want to create.
 
News from Washington on the morning of Netanyahu's victory suggests that the Iranians suffer from the same incapacity to accept a deal as the Palestinians. The President estimated chances of reaching an agreement with Iran about its nuclear program at about 50 percent.
 
The New York Times quoted several Democratic activists as expressing dismay about Netanyahu's campaign and victory. A Member of the House of Representatives emphasized Netanyahu's efforts to ally himself with Republicans, and, ”As far as I’m concerned, Netanyahu burned his bridges with the American government and a broad swath of the American people . . . It is to me, frankly, a really sordid approach to diplomacy and friendship and alliance."

Martin Indyk said that while it was still unclear what kind of government might arise in Israel, the tenor of Mr. Netanyahu’s relationship with the Obama administration was likely to be governed by a confrontation over Iran in the short term, should a nuclear deal be reached. In the longer term . . .  a right-wing government led by Mr. Netanyahu . . . likely to be in confrontation with the international community over the Palestinian issue.

David Axelrod, another of Obama's senior Jewish advisers, said that "Bibi’s shameful 11th-hour demagoguery may have swayed enough votes to save him. But at what cost?”


Netanyahu did play the Palestinian card in the last days of a campaign when he came from behind in the polls to beat Labor by six Knesset seats. He expressed himself against the prospect of a Palestinian state, and his party sent several text messages on election day warning of an increase in Arab voting. 


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"An increase of three times in Arab turnout. ... Abu Massan and American money are bringing the Arabs to the polls. Go out and vote."
 
". . . Hamas has called on the Arabs of Israel to vote.  This is the last chance. Leave your homes now and vote Likud."


Right of center Israelis were more sanguine and less emotional than the New York Times or the Democrats it quoted.  Moshe Kahlon was one of the party leaders thought likely to coalesce with Labor on the basis of pre-election polls, and his post-election comments--looking forward to a ministry in Netanyahu's government--was the traditional stuff of reconciliation, and overlooking campaign slogans.


Tzachi Hanegbi is a close ally of Netanyahu who has moved from a reputation as a right wing firebrand to a right of center pragmatist. He said that he expected the American administration to make an effort to renew the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. As far as Israel was concerned, “We would be very delighted to renew the negotiations . . .  It is to the benefit of both peoples.” 

Netanyahu's reputation is hyperbolic in speech and moderate in action. One of his post-election comments spoke of delivering security and social welfare to “all citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike.”
 
Reports are that the Obama administration aspires to renew the push for a Palestinian state, and may change its posture with respect to anti-Israel UN resolutions. The delay in Obama's conventional post-election telephone call to the victor was long enough to become the topic of comedians.
 
If there is a New Middle East, it is not the one perceived in the White House, and it is not only Netanyahu who is at odds with the White House. Sunni governments in the Gulf, as well as Saudi Arabia and Egypt oppose Obama's aspirations about a deal with Iran that does not reign in its support of terror or its efforts to undermine established governments.  Media and government personnel from the Gulf Emirates saw Netanyahu's posture against the Obama position of Iran as most important in his victory, and expressed their support of Netanyahu. 
 
Bibi has sidestepped from his pre-election opposition to a Palestinian state. Now it is only temporary--perhaps a long temporary--until he Palestinians, Iranians, and the Islamic State are no longer threats to Israel's existence.
 
Israel's pollsters owe themselves as much introspection as those dreaming of a Palestinian state. Missing badly in the pre-election polls showing a Labor victory may be explained by undecideds and the success of Likud's last minute push. However, those doing post-voting exit polls should reconsider their methods. Two of the three networks projected Likud and Labor tied at 27 Knesset seats, with the third projecting a Likud lead of 28 to 27. The reality is a difference between the two leading party by some 25 percent, with Likud at 30 and Labor 24.









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