Analysts: Israeli vote a setback for Obama

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's desire to move quickly on Israeli-Palestinian peace has likely suffered a setback in this week's Israeli elections, analysts say.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that although Israel's centrist Kadima party narrowly won a victory, the right-wing Likud party more than doubled its seats and an ultra-nationalist party made big gains.


While Tzipi Livni appears to have won slightly more seats than Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli parliament shifted right overall with Wednesday's vote.

The newspaper said the outcome could mean Jerusalem could be less interested in peace talks while efforts start to form a governing coalition.

"You are going to have a very wobbly, dysfunctional, survival-minded coalition in Israel," said Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator.

Obama administration officials said Tuesday they would not comment pending official results.

"The hope is that there is a government that is really committed to peace with the Palestinians," said one senior administration official.

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