By now we have all seen the picture of frustrated IDF soldiers lying on the ground spelling out- in Hebrew letters- “Bibi Loser.” But while his party has suffered a political backlash from the Israel public that felt like the war had hardly begun, never mind ended, Bibi certainly cannot be the “loser” in this non-conflict. His Likud-Beyteinu party still has a relatively comfortable lead in the next Knesset. In other words, Bibi will likely still be Prime Minister in the next election.
So who is the big “loser” from this cease-fire?
It cannot be Hamas. For while Hamas has lost top members and several hundred sites and weapons, the restocking capabilities of this terrorist organization has proven itself from this past interchange. Its weapons capabilities most definitely surprised Israel and the Palestinian public support it has received has buoyed it high enough that the Palestinian Authority is trying to make its own voice heard above the shouts of support for Hamas.
Neither can we say that Israel lost from the cease-fire. While the first few minutes had myself and others ridiculing the cease-fire as unilateral and stupid, a sort of calm has undeniably been achieved. Also, Israel reached a series of targets in the Gaza strip, putting several high level Hamas members and terror sites out of commission. Thus, while it certainly does feel like the job was unfinished, the goals of returning relative peace to Israeli towns was definitely reached.
Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party have definitely lost from the interchange between Israel and Hamas. At this point in time, right before he goes to the UN to (once again) ask them to unilaterally recognize the “State of Palestine” his ratings have dropped and he and his party are playing defense. But since this rise and fall in popularity happens all the time, this loss is really negligible in the long run.
Avigdor Lieberman, being in the same boat as Bibi, most certainly did not lose. Being second to the Prime Minister, he can not be held accountable for the actions of Bibi. It seems likely that he will actually be more powerful in the government to be. Whether this counts as a loss for Bibi is a matter of perspective.
The one who lost the most from this whole situation is defense minister Ehud Barak. Hit harshly by the backlash against the ceasefire, it looks like he may not make it into the next Knesset. I only wonder who might replace him. (I’ve heard rumors that Lieberman might take his place, cementing the right-wing element of this coalition.)
Of course, politics being politics, some surprise might be right around the corner.