Multiple irregularities marred Israel’s Kadima party primary elections last week, according to an internal Kadima investigation obtained by this column.
“We cannot know who won this election. We need a new election,” Kadima Knesset Member Ze’ev Elkin said in an interview.
Following Livni’s assumed victory, President Shimon Peres formally asked Livni to form a governing coalition. This means that if she can recruit enough political parties to maintain a plurality of the Knesset’s 120 seats, she would finish Prime Minister Olmert’s term in office as prime minister until new elections are scheduled for late next year.
Livni won the election with 43.1 percent of the vote, or 16,936 registered Kadima members. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz came in a very close second with 42 percent, or 16,505 votes.
Among the voting problems discovered:
All ballots at the polling station in the city of Rahat being disqualified after a man tore up the contents of a voting box (reportedly containing 430 votes) and scattered hundreds of envelopes that were inside; 70 polling stations in which ballots were unaccounted for; the number of votes cast in 10 polling stations being more than the number of Kadima members registered to vote at those stations; and 257 missing ballots.
Also, in a decision Elkin says was not coordinated with the other candidates, Kadima’s election committee granted Livni a requested extension of 30 minutes voting time at Kadima polling stations around the country.
The Kadima probe estimates the extra time was key for Livni, because it allowed many Muslim voters to take part in the elections following a feast that ended the day of Ramadan fasting.
Livni, who has been leading negotiations with the Palestinian Authority aimed at creating a Palestinian state before January, trounced Mofaz among Muslim and Arab voters in many villages.
The Kadima probe also concluded that voters casting ballots in the last 30 minutes may have been influenced by the Israeli news media, which during the last 45 minutes of the vote wrongly announced that exit data showed Livni beat Mofaz by a wide margin of 10 percent.
Assuming the Kadima election results are upheld, the question becomes who voted for Livni. About 14,000 of Kadima’s 74,000 registered voters are Arab, according to polling data. Poll stations reported that non-Jewish Kadima voters evidenced the highest turnout.
Only about 50 percent of all eligible Kadima voters took part in the election.
Polling data showed the vast majority of Arabs who took part in the election voted for Livni, meaning her 16,936 votes included a large number of Arabs. This is disproportionate to the Israeli population, which is 75.5 percent Jewish.
Fatah-Al Qaeda Link
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization has been providing financial support to Al Qaeda allies in the Gaza Strip, including some of the most radical Islamist organizations in the territory, according to information obtained by WorldNetDaily.
Fatah, considered moderate by the U.S. and Israel, has been backing the Al Qaeda allies in a bid to destabilize rival Hamas’s leadership in Gaza.
The last few weeks have seen a marked rise in the boldness of radical Islamist organizations in Gaza, particularly among three groups: Jihadiya Salafiya (the Jihad of Ancestors), Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), and the Islamist Doghmosh clan. The groups have engaged in clashes with Hamas and have published pamphlets calling Hamas “non-Muslim” for taking part in democratic elections.
Unlike other radical Islamic organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, which have demonstrated pragmatism in some aspects of political life while still holding an Islamist world view, the three Gaza Islamist organizations in question believe in a strict interpretation of the Koran and that only the Koran can dictate how to act. The three groups are openly identified with Al Qaeda ideologically; they believe jihad is the primary way to spread Islam around the world, including jihad against secular Muslim states.
Israeli security officials blasted Fatah for supporting radical Islamists. “They are playing a dangerous, stupid game,” one top Israeli security official commented. “If they succeed in winning back Gaza, Fatah will have to contend with an Al Qaeda territory.”
Hamas Vaunts Democratic Values
Members Hamas terror group are the rightful representatives of the Palestinian people and should control the entire West Bank just as they rule the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Al-Zaar, the Hamas chief in Gaza, told this column in an exclusive interview.
“According to our rights, we are the elected majority, and a majority in a democracy should control all the Palestinian areas, whether in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. This is not an extraordinary issue,” said Al-Zaar, who is considered the second most powerful Hamas leader following the group’s overall chief, Khaled Mesial, who resides in exile in Damascus.
“Do you respect democracy? If you respect democracy, the elections in January 2006 indicated Hamas is the majority and it should run the administration in Gaza and the West Bank,” said al-Zaar, speaking from Gaza.
The Hamas chief’s comments come amid fears in the Israeli intelligence community that Hamas eventually may attempt to take over the strategic West Bank just as it seized Gaza, particularly if Israel withdraws from the territory.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.”