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Sharon's policies without Sharon
KADIMA - THE new party formed by the comatose former prime minister Ariel Sharon from the previously governing right-wing Likud coalition - emerged as the largest party in Israel's general election last week. Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party crashed into third place.
Led by acting prime minister Ehud Olmert, Kadima will horse trade to possibly form a ruling coalition with the social-democratic Labour party, led by Amir Peretz, and a combination of right-wing and religious parties, the pensioners party and the 'left-wing' Meretz party.
In terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Olmert wants to press ahead with Ariel Sharon's plan for a unilateral withdrawal (by 2010) of some Israeli settlements from parts of the occupied West Bank in order to redefine an enlarged Israel with a Jewish majority.
Olmert says there is no Palestinian partner for peace negotiations around a 'two-state' solution, especially now that the Islamist Hamas overwhelmingly won February's Palestinian general election.
A greater Israel would also include Syria's Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, annexed during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Such a plan - backed by the US White House - would leave Palestinians administering an unviable patchwork of towns and villages, amounting to only 22% of the Palestinian territory that existed before Israel's formation in 1948.
A Kadima-led coalition will continue the previous government's neo-liberal economic policies These policies mean cutting public spending, accelerating privatisation, and 'reforming' the benefits system. Inevitably, this programme will lead to further clashes with Israel's trade unions.
See www.socialistworld.net for article from CWI, Israel
In The Socialist 6 April 2006: