March 17, 2006


'Jericho effect' boosts Israeli leader: Olmert's Kadima party reclaims wide lead in polls after attack on Palestinian prison (MARK MACKINNON, 3/17/06, Globe and Mail

After taking a slight dip in the polls, acting prime minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party has rebounded to reclaim a wide lead less than two weeks before Israel's parliamentary elections, benefiting from what observers have called a "Jericho effect" in the wake of this week's Israeli military raid on a Palestinian prison.

An opinion poll released yesterday forecasts that Kadima will win between 42 and 43 of the 120 seats up for grabs, up from 38 seats a week ago and easily enough to give it first crack at forming a coalition government in the 120-seat Knesset after the March 28 vote.

The bounce was attributed largely to popular support for the Israeli army's surprise attack Tuesday on the Jericho prison, which left three Palestinians dead and led to Israel's capture of six wanted militants in Palestinian custody. While the raid provoked violent protests across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it was hailed by the Israeli media as a major success.

Mr. Olmert just has to convince voters of something they knew about Ariel Sharon, that the final settlement he imposes on a Palestinian state will be on Israeli terms.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2006 8:51 AM

There's always something about a strong horse and human nature...

Posted by: Rick T. at March 17, 2006 9:05 AM

Hamas pretty much served this one up on a silver platter to Olmert, since even in the heartland of Europe's anti-Israeli feelings or those of the U.N. General Assembly, it's hard to get a really good rage going over the seizure of murderers who were about to be released by the Palestinians after U.S. and British observers were forced to leave the prison. It was an easy way for him to show he'll follow in Sharon's footsteps without having to take any of the more controversal actions Sharon did in forcing the Palestinians into self-governance to begin with.

Posted by: John at March 17, 2006 9:31 AM