U.S. can’t push Middle East peace process

Freedom New Mexico

Perhaps the most poignant headline we saw regarding last week’s parliamentary elections in Israel ran over a Reuters story: “Israel faces gridlock, peace prospects dim.”

Big surprise.

Israel has a parliamentary system, meaning a prospective prime minister must put together a majority coalition in the 120-member Knesset, or Parliament.

Current foreign minister Tzipi Livni’s party, Kadima, originally formed by former prime minister Ariel Sharon and deemed “centrist” by most observers, won 28 seats in preliminary tabulations. The “rightist” party Likud, led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, garnered 27 seats, and the rest of the seats were divided among 10 other parties according to a pie chart in the Jerusalem Post.

Perhaps the most significant result was that the newly formed “rightist” party, Israel Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, won 15 Knesset seats.

The Jerusalem Post’s story also noted that Jerusalem had gone largely for Likud and other right-leaning parties, while Kadima took Tel Aviv, with 34 percent to Likud’s 19 percent.

Following official certification Feb. 18, Israeli President Shimon Peres is supposed to designate either Netanyahu or Livni to form a coalition government. There is a slight chance the two parties will come together to form a possibly shaky “unity” government. But it seems more likely that Netanyahu will form a right-leaning coalition government.

Whatever happens, despite pro forma appeals from the European Union and other quarters, urging Israel to stay on a path to peace that contemplates a two-state solution, it is likely