As the voting booths close and the campaign jingles fade, the focus of post-election Israeli politics will be the daunting task of forming a coalition government. The character of the new government will be determined in large part by whether Prime Minister Ariel Sharon can convince Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna to join a coalition government with the Likud. Without the support of the Labor Party, Sharon may be forced to rely on a narrow, unstable coalition of religious and right-wing nationalist parties. The outcome of this coalition-building exercise could significantly impact the future of the peace process as well as U.S. policy in the region.
To discuss the implications of the election results for Israeli national security policy, the peace process, and the upcoming war in Iraq, the Saban Center at Brookings has organized a special briefing by Chemi Shalev, Israel’s preeminent political analyst and pollster. Shalev is a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv who conducts and analyzes the newspaper’s weekly polling data. Martin Indyk, the director of the Saban Center and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel who served through two elections there, will assess the impact of the Israeli election results on U.S. policy and interests in the region. Also speaking will be Shibley Telhami, a nonresident senior fellow at the Saban Center and an expert on the politics of Israel’s Arab sector.
Brookings Senior Fellow and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. will moderate the press briefing. Following their presentations, panelists will answer questions from the audience.