GOP Surge Expected to Weaken Obama’s Support of PA Demands
An expected drubbing of the Democratic party by the GOP Tuesday probably will weaken PA demands and strengthen Israel, foreign analysts say.
By all counts, the Republican party is likely to win a majority in the House of Representatives and whittle the Democrats’ Senate majority to a whisker. The mid-term elections are being fought primarily on domestic issues, especially the economy and “Obamacare.”
Israel is a big factor in several local campaigns, but the overall anticipated Republican sweep is likely to result in a Congress that is “not likely to put heavy pressure and … more likely to give knee-jerk support on all kinds of other issues," strategic analyst Yossi Alpher told the French news agency AFP.
Netanyahu "will probably think he's in a stronger position," Middle East specialist and former U.S. official Robert Danin told a major California newspaper, the Sacramento Bee.
The Palestinian Authority has been assuming that once elections are out of the way, U.S. President Barack Obama will feel freer to pressure Israel, but PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath recently admitted that if the Democratic party is trounced, President Obama’s leverage on foreign policy will be reduced.
The conservative Tea Party’s unexpected strength is based in part on an isolationist view that wants the United States to stop acting as the world’s watchdog, particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan and the entire Middle East region.
In Israel, local media analysts reflected their newspapers’ editorial stance when predicting the effect of the elections on the diplomatic process.
The left-wing Haaretz, which has been promoting Palestinian Authority demands and a resumption of talks based on its conditions, predicted that President Obama “cannot afford to lose momentum in Israeli-Palestinian talks." It also suggested he might even cave in on supporting Israel against a United Nations resolution to recognize the Palestinian Authority based on 1949 Armistice Line borders. The analyst’s reasoning is that President Obama will be wary of risking the animosity of the Muslim world.
The Jerusalem Post, generally centrist and center-left, concentrated more on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government in the wake of the elections, estimating that the election results in the United States will have little impact on negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.