Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Netanyahu maintains edge in Israel election race
Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:50am EST
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Jeffrey Heller
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's election race is back in full swing following the Gaza war and front-runner Benjamin Netanyahu has moved quickly to deflect allegations his victory could mean conflict with new U.S. President Barack Obama.
Claiming some of the middle ground in Israel occupied by the ruling Kadima party, Netanyahu told Middle East envoy Tony Blair that a government headed by his right-wing Likud party would not build new Jewish settlements, though would expand existing ones.
"Like all the governments there have been until now, I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements," Netanyahu said, according to a spokesman for the Likud chief on Monday.
While such policy is opposed internationally and condemned by Palestinians seeking a state in the West Bank, it nonetheless puts Netanyahu broadly in line with the Kadima-led government and the party's prime ministerial candidate in the February 10 election, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Livni suggested a Netanyahu-led administration would set Israel on a collision course with Obama, who has pledged swift efforts to try to achieve Palestinian statehood and a wide Israeli-Arab peace.
Netanyahu has said peace talks, which Washington had hoped would achieve a framework peace deal in 2008, should focus on shoring up the Palestinian economy rather than on territorial issues that have stymied U.S. mediation so far.
"Israel and the United States could butt heads. It depends who's (in charge) here," Livni said in remarks widely seen as a swipe at Netanyahu, whose tenure as Israeli leader from 1996 to 1999 was marked by friction with the Clinton White House.
She followed up in a radio interview on Monday, saying: "Netanyahu has already been prime minister, and he failed."
Likud campaign billboards paint a different picture -- of a confident-looking Netanyahu and an accompanying slogan: "Strong on security, strong on the economy."
With the vote now two weeks away on Tuesday, polls show Likud firmly in the lead after Israel's Gaza offensive, trailed by Kadima and with third-place Labor, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, gaining support as a result of his role in the war.
The surveys give Likud some 29 seats in the 120-member parliament compared with about 25 for Kadima. Such a margin would leave Netanyahu well-placed to form a coalition government that could include partnerships with Kadima or Labor, as well as smaller religious and minority-interest groups.
The 22-day Gaza offensive was widely supported by Israelis, despite an international outcry over a Palestinian death toll that medical officials put at 1,300, including 700 civilians.
Israel said 10 of its soldiers and three civilians were killed during the offensive it launched in the Hamas-ruled enclave with the declared aim of halting cross-border rockets.
If the opinion polls are correct, Livni made few inroads among Israeli voters as a result of the Gaza war. Continued...
View article on single page
Cautious EU ready to give U.S. some help on Guantanamo
Also on Reuters
Video: Thai Scorpion Queen breaks record
Full Coverage: Year in Review 2008
Pope becomes one of world's oldest YouTube stars
More International News
World court told Congo warlord used children to kill
Iceland's PM says government collapses
U.S. embassy in Yemen says gets threat of attack
Iraq prime minister expects speedier U.S. pullout
Belgian nursery suspect linked to previous murder
More International News...
Israeli PM's promise to his troops
TIMELINE: Israel goes to the polls
FACTBOX: Contenders to lead Israel after February 10 election
FACTBOX: Israeli political parties
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Challenges loom as Obama seeks space weapons ban
Lehman's Fuld sold Florida mansion to wife for $100
California's "train wreck" a golden opportunity?
UPDATE 3-'Slumdog' emerges as Oscar favorite after SAG win
Obama acts to reverse Bush climate moves
Recession hits Silicon Valley as layoffs pile up
Pelosi signals willingness to add to TARP funds
U.S. business climate worst in 27 years | Video
BofA played role in $4 billion Merrill bonuses: report
Jews struggle to come to grips with Madoff
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Thai Scorpion Queen breaks record
Israeli PM's promise to his troops
Indian PM undergoes surgery
France/Spain assess storm damage
Brazil model dies from infection
Ten dead in Turkey avalanche
BBC resists pressure over Gaza
3 killed in Scottish avalanche
Chinese New Year celebrations
Bullfighter, 11, 'breaks record'
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
The Great Debate
Obama, Iran and Nixon
Should President Barack Obama take his cue from Richard Nixon and his 1972 breakthrough with China in dealing with Iran? Commentary
Full Coverage: Barack Obama's First 100 Days
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.