Netanyahu's Gaza forecast won't feature in election

'I told you so' campaign could backfire, strategists say.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
January 13, 2009 23:31
1 minute read.
Netanyahu's Gaza forecast won't feature in election

bibi netanyahu 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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The Likud's election campaign will not feature party chairman Binyamin Netan-yahu's premonitions about the situation in Gaza and events that have taken place in Operation Cast Lead, party strategists said Tuesday. The strategists said they had collected clips of statements made by Netanyahu that now seem prophetic, and optimistic statements made by Kadima leader Tzipi Livni that have turned out to be false. In the clips, Netanyahu appears in various speeches and interviews over the past 12 years in which he predicted everything that has taken place during the current war, the strategists said. While the Likud is waiting to see how the operation in Gaza ends before deciding strategy, they have already decided not to mount a campaign that would be seen as gloating. All parties have suspended their political campaigns for the duration of Operation Cast Lead. "There won't be an 'I told you so' campaign," a source close to Netanyahu said. "Everything we say can bounce back against us. But Tzipi has a lot more to be afraid of from her performance as foreign minister, especially in the last week," the source added. In an interview with Army Radio Tuesday morning, Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) accused the Likud of trying to exploit the war for political gains. Asked how the Likud would respond to such charges, which will probably intensify when the campaign resumes, Likud sources said they would not take them seriously and that they expected the focus of the campaign to change after the war. "When the war is over, each party will launch a new campaign and claims of taking advantage of the war for political gain won't be relevant," a Likud official said. Meanwhile, at a meeting with more than 50 representatives of the foreign press at the King David Hotel on Tuesday, Netanyahu made a point of mentioning that he coined the term "Hamastan" for the Gaza Strip that is so prevalent today. When asked whether he felt strange defending the government as opposition leader, Netanyahu replied: "There are many elections. But we have only one state. This is the most just war in Israel's history. "Israel needs to achieve a decisive victory," Netanyahu added. "The goal has to be to topple the Hamas regime, and I would support the government if it did that. Hamas, a terrorist organization, must ultimately be removed from Gaza."

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