Tzipi Livni fought a tough battle to gain leadership of Israel and actually won one more seat in the Knesset than her main opponent, Benjamin Netanyahu, but that might not be enough to head the next Israel government. The electorate made a sharp turn to the right and it appears most likely that Netanyahu will organize a coalition of parties that will have a majority in parliament. It is unclear under Israel law who President Shimon Peres will ask to take a first crack at putting together a coalition. Most probably, the real issue is which political parties will be asked by Netanyahu to join his coalition. He has come across as a hard liner who does not wish to withdraw from the West Bank or from east Jerusalem.
In the end, the most important factor might be the willingness or lack of willingness of President Obama to exert his power and force Netanyahu to negotiate with Palestinian leaders and confront the issue of the West Bank. It is time that an American president ends the policy of regarding Israel demands as the most important in deciding the fate of the Middle East. The Arab League is ready to accept the state of Israel, but that means the end of Jewish encroachment in the West Bank. Will that scenario become a reality?