Israel’s opposition leader and the head of Labor party claimed this weekend that ignoring the Palestinian diplomatic issue in her election campaign cost her party four Knesset seats. Yachimovich ran her campaign mostly on economical issues, in hopes of capitalizing on the social protests. She ended up with a disappointing 15 seats – a couple more than Ehud Barak got as the head of Labor but still fewer than what polls gave her.
Maariv obtained a recording of a meeting between Yachimovich and some of her supporters, in which she said:
It turns out that what Yair Lapid was able to do – not to utter a word about the diplomatic process – we don’t have the same luxury … This thing, the diplomatic agenda, which for wasn’t [the top issue] for me, neither authentically nor strategically, looking back, I estimate that we lost four seats, two to Meretz and two to Hatnuah (Tzipi Livni’s party).
“Diplomatic process” or “diplomatic issue” are code names in the Israeli political lexicon for the Palestinian issue. I believe Yachimovich was right to state that the peace process is currently meaningless. However, she conveyed the message that the entire Palestinian problem is not important. While most of the Jewish public would probably agree with her, there were some people in the Labor base for which this was a non-starter.