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Author Topic: Mitzna quits
Mycroft_
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Babbler # 2230

posted 04 May 2003 04:41 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

MARK LAVIE
ASSOCIATED PRESS
JERUSALEM - The leader of Israel's opposition Labour Party, who guided the party to its worst election defeat in 55 years, resigned today, throwing Israel's peace camp into further disarray.

Amram Mitzna, 58, an ex-general and former mayor of the port city of Haifa, said he was convinced his policies were the right ones, but intrigue and interference from other party leaders after the drubbing at the polls in January had proven too much.

His resignation cut off a meteoric career in national politics just seven months after it began.

Party secretary Ofir Pines said he expected a new leader to be chosen by the end of July.

Mitzna was a leading voice against Labour's rejoining the government of Ariel Sharon, and his resignation reopens the possibility that a more centrist leader might join forces with the hard-line prime minister.

That would be seen as another blow to Israel's "peace camp," which championed the effort to reach peace with the Palestinians in exchange for land captured in 1967. The peace process, which set up Palestinian autonomy in parts of the West Bank and Gaza, collapsed in late 2000 amid violence that continues.

Mitzna took over the party in a November primary weeks after Labour bolted Sharon's coalition. His clean image, reputation for straight talk and newcomer status were seen as assets among Israelis who have grown cynical about politics.

He favoured an unconditional return to peace talks and promised to quickly erect a barrier between Israel and the West Bank and completely pull out from Gaza even if no deal were achieved — part of a "unilateral separation" from the Palestinians to keep suicide bombers out of Israel.

Although polls showed the separation idea was popular, the bespectacled, bearded ex-general with a reedy, tenor voice was perceived by many as too soft.

Sharon easily won the Jan. 28 elections. Labour dropped from 26 seats to 19 in the 120-seat parliament, while Sharon's Likud doubled its strength from 19 to 38 seats and easily formed a governing coalition without Labour.

"He operated at a time when it was difficult to raise Labour from the ashes," said Pines, alluding to the public's widespread despair of peace prospects after 31 months of deadly violence.

Mitzna said Sunday he was convinced Labour's land-for-peace agenda ultimately would prevail, and that Israel should end Jewish settlement in the West Bank and Gaza, and "must separate from the Palestinians and from so many illusions."

One possible replacement is the man Mitzna replaced, ex-general Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who served as defence minister in Sharon's first government and who has suggested he would be willing to join Sharon again. Another is Matan Vilnai, also an ex-general, who holds more hardline views on the Palestinians than Mitzna.

Ex-finance minister Avraham Shochat also suggested Sunday he might run.

The other possible candidates include elder statesman and former premier Shimon Peres, 79, and ex-premier Ehud Barak, who led the last round of peace talks and recently has adopted a hard line, saying his proposals exposed the Palestinians as not ready for peace.



From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
josh
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posted 04 May 2003 07:50 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I would hope this will herald the overdue demise of the Labor Party and lead the formation of a true Social Democratic Party.

More on the resignation:

http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/290191.html


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Mishei
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posted 04 May 2003 08:47 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Labor party is a social democratic party. Not enough for you Josh but for many Labor Zionists it is . Yes, there needs to be changes and I am deeply saddened that Mitzna proved a false hope. But I remain hopeful that progressive policy will still win out.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mycroft_
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posted 04 May 2003 08:59 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There's a good chance that a new leader will take Labour into Sharon's government. That will likely lead to a split in the Labour Party.
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Mishei
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posted 04 May 2003 09:03 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes that is quite possible.
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Mycroft_
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Babbler # 2230

posted 04 May 2003 09:57 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Beilin to Mitzna: Join the new Social Democrats
quote:
In separate meetings yesterday, the Meretz and Shahar councils each decided to initiate organizational and ideological discussions aimed at establishing a new Social Democratic Party at a convention in the fall.

As these steps toward the new party were decided, Shahar founder Yossi Beilin called on Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna to join the new venture. A split in the Labor Party between Mitzna's supporters and those loyal to Mitzna's rival for party leadership, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, is "inevitable," Beilin argued.

According to Beilin, Mitzna could lead a group of six other left-leaning Labor MKs to form a block - together with Meretz - of 13 MKs and still remain the leader of the opposition in the Knesset. (In this scenario, the depleted Labor Party would be left with 12 MKs.)

Beilin founded the Shahar movement last June while still a member of the Labor Party, but moved to Meretz at the end of the year after failing to win a realistic slot on the Labor slate for the Knesset elections. Shahar means "dawn" in Hebrew and is an acronym for peace (shalom), education (hinuch) and welfare (rivaha).

Speaking at the Shahar meeting yesterday, Beilin argued that "Mitzna now stands at the head of a seven-member faction. These people have no place in a party of Likud clones... The Labor Party has experienced a hostile takeover and has no future."

The Meretz council okayed the plan to establish the Social Democratic Party by a large majority, though heated debate preceded the vote.

Ran Cohen, who had expressed interest in becoming chairman of Meretz (a post vacated by Yossi Sarid after the party's election defeat), was one of the only MKs who did not support the proposal.

Supporters of the plan for the new party argued that it would enable Meretz to attract a wider constituency. Opponents insisted that Meretz must conduct a thorough analysis of its unsuccessful election campaign - including its alliance with Beilin and Roman Bronfman's Democratic Choice faction - before making a commitment to form a new party.

Meanwhile, Mitzna declared yesterday that he has no intention of splitting the party. On the contrary, he explained, his aim is to rehabilitate the Labor Party and lead an "internal revolution" in the party's institutions, now controlled by his predecessor, Ben-Eliezer.

In private conversations, party elder Shimon Peres has expressed concern over the infighting among the party's leadership. Peres opposes MK Dalia Itzik's call for early elections for party leader, and is calling for "teamwork" and a review of the party's platform.

The party's Knesset faction is expected to meet at the end of the week to try to heal some of the wounds from the central committee meeting last Thursday, when Ben-Eliezer's supporters pushed through a decision on the Palestinian issue that was opposed by Mitzna.
MK Haim Oron walking past Yossi Sarid and other Meretz colleagues at a party meeting yesterday.



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josh
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posted 05 May 2003 01:57 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I hope the scenario discussed in the story comes to pass. Too many in Labor care for nothing more than office holding and partronage. Nor, in any sense of the term, are they an longer a "social democratic party." Under Rabin, Peres and Barak, the party increasing adopted the neo-liberal economic model of privitazation and deregulation.

The party should be put out of its misery.


From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged

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