U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell’s visit to the region on the eve of Israeli elections is seen as a message to Israeli voters and candidates.
- That message, according to an editorial in Wednesday’s daily Ha’aretz, is that "Obama means what he says and that the new (Israeli) administration will be judged by its contribution to bringing peace closer."
"Israeli voters must know that the Obama government will be intolerant of construction in the settlements, as well as measures that hurt the Palestinians, such as closures and checkpoints. It will make every effort to bring about a two-state solution. Anyone for whom Israel’s relations with the United States is important must vote for parties that support a peace agreement with the Palestinians, out of the recognition that the right-wing parties that support settlement expansion jeopardize Israel’s international standing as well as its security, both of which are dependent on American support.
"This message is also geared toward Israel’s political leadership, particularly Benjamin Netanyahu, who is leading in the opinion polls. His platform, which rejects the creation of a Palestinian state, and his statements in favor of "natural growth" in the settlements, place him on a collision course with Washington – especially if the senior partner in his coalition is Avigdor Lieberman."
- Just in case some don’t agree with Mitchell’s message, a Ynet Op-Ed reminds voters that there is only one party that is 100 percent opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.
"(I)t is truly amazing to see that the confusion on the Right is once again rearing its all too familiar head. Although there are several political parties that define themselves as “national” or “right-wing” – Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, The Jewish Home, The National Union – only one of these parties says, in clear and straightforward terms, that it is 100% opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state, in any shape or size, in any part of the Land of Israel.
"This party, The National Union, speaks clearly and directly with a real Jewish soul without worrying about political correctness. Moreover, its message, which is correct from a security perspective, is correct from a Jewish perspective as well."
- The Jerusalem Post offers its version of Monday (or in this case, Wednesday) morning quarterbacking on the debut of the political party’s campaign ads. The question is, can we Israelis take two weeks of them?
- Russian-language media are surprised, according to Ha’aretz, that Labor Party leader Ehud Barak is attributing to Vladimir Putin this comment about killing terrorists being used in a Labor radio election spot: "As you people say, they should be whacked when they’re on the toilet." The comments by Putin, they say, were in fact inspired by Barak’s military exploits.
- A 30-year-old politician who is in the 18th position on the Likud Party list is poised to be the youngest lawmaker in the next Knesset, the Jerusalem Post reports in an extensive feature on Tzipi Hotovely, who they dub the "Right" Tzipi.
- The head of the religious Zionist National Union Party, Yaakov Katz, nearly started an incident in front of the eastern Jerusalem home of a Palestinian terrorist, whose grandmother came out to hear what "Katzele" was saying to an entourage of party members on a tour of Jerusalem, Ynet reported.
- Arab parties are encouraging their constituents to vote, worried that the Gaza operation will keep Arab-Israelis away from the polls, the Jerusalem Post reports.
- Finally, new polls show that some 20 Knesset seats are still up for grabs and that up to 30 percent of voters could change their minds in the two weeks leading up to the national election,Ynet reports.