Azerbaijan, Baku, 20 September /корр. Trend U.Sadikova, E.Tariverdiyeva / The Foreign Minister of Israel, Tzipi Livni, who earlier took an active part in the talks with Palestine, gained victory in the governing Kadima party leadership election.
What changes are expected to take place in the political arena of region after Tzipi Livni's coming to power?
Gigel Frish, expert of Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv:
- In the question of regulating the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, the new Head of the Government of Israel will attempt to develop the
basic principles of agreement with the Palestinians, exactly regarding the
issues on status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. Livni considers that Israel must not hurry in this question and agree upon all conditions.
I consider that Livni will manage to conclude an agreement with the Palestinians. Most likely, this question will shift to the next Government, which will come to power as a result of the elections in January 2009.
Tahir al Nunu, official of HAMAS:
- Palestinian Government is well familiar with the variable policy of Israel in the region. We were the witnesses of the fact that during achievement of some successes in the negotiations, the Israeli side always changes its head. We have reciprocal policy against the variable policy of Israel. We expect no special changes because Livni's policy in no way differs from the policy of Olmert.
Francis Boyle, political scientist of University of Illinois (USA):
- The main issue now is whether or not there will be an American/Israeli aggression upon Iran before President Bush leaves office on January 20, 2009. All other elements of Israeli foreign policy (Palestine, Syria, Lebanon) will be subordinate to that decision. The Israelis will continue to stall and delay any peace settlements with the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, while continuing to steal the land, water and resources of the Palestinians and imposing slow motion genocide on the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza while the rest of the world looks on and does nothing to help them.
Salem Zuheyri, Director of British Center for Strategic Studies of Middle East:
- There is no difference between the Israeli politicians, Livni, Mofaz, Sharon. They all carry out similar policy, and adhere to unanimous opinion in the issue of negotiations with the Arab world, and this leads to one result. Even if changes occur in Israel, then we, as Moslem side, will remain on our positions. It is not worth to forget that the policy in Israel change, but one governance remains - Zionist. Therefore, it is not worthwhile to expect changes.
Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics at University of San Francisco:
Livni may be more pragmatic and less ideological than Olmert, so she might appreciate the strategic and diplomatic necessity for territorial compromise, particularly if she feels any pressure from the United States under the next administration.
David Lesch, specialist of Middle East Institute at Trinity University:
In the near term I do not think Israel's foreign policy will change that much as the new prime minister will be concentrating her efforts on forming a new government. I think all the Arab-Israeli peace tracks in the region are on hold until the Israeli and US political situations sort themselves out. In any event, with a new US president taking time to settle in and possibly forced to deal with more pressing economic issues at home, the Israeli foreign policy may move more incrementally in terms of peace talks over the next 6-9 months.
Ronnie D Lipschutz, Professor of Politics at Santa Cruz University (USA):
- I think it is premature to make any predictions about this. Livni first needs to reassemble a coalition in the Knesset, which is difficult at the best of times. Livni has 30-45 days to do this, and if she is unsuccessful, elections will be called. Right now, it appears that Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud would win a new election, and they almost certainly will not engage in any kind of negotiations with Presidents Abbas or Assad.
Gawdat Bahgat, Center for Middle Eastern Studies at University of Pennsylvania:
- Livni is considered more moderate and less hawkish than her main rival Shaul Mofaz, transport minister. She has been deeply involved in the peace process and is likely to continue her efforts if she becomes prime minister. The forming of a new government in Israel and the upcoming presidential election in the United States are likely to slow down, or even bring to a halt, the current peace negotiations between Israel on one side and the Palestinian Authority and Syria on the other side.
The preparation of the survey was attended by A.Gut (Israel) and R.Hafizoglu (Baku).
The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]