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Of the possible political combinations that have emerged from the Israeli parliamentary election, none will bring the region closer to peace. Israel will continue to persecute the Palestinians, whose hatred will only grow.

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With his party holding 15 seats in the Knesset, Avigdor Lieberman of the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu is poised to pick Israel's next government. Lieberman would like a choice cabinet post in exchange for anointing the next premier, but he's under investigation for allegedly laundering millions of overseas dollars.

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Tzipi Livni, leader of the centrist Kadima party, took a slight lead in exit polls and early returns after Israelis voted Tuesday in parliamentary elections. However, with Likud a close second and a splinter ultraconservative party set to win about 15 seats, conservatives may be the real winners. Update

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It's a wrap, a doddle, an Israeli cease-fire just in time for Barack Obama to have a squeaky-clean inauguration with all the world looking at the streets of Washington rather than the rubble of Gaza.

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As Israel's Security Cabinet prepared to vote Saturday on a possible cease-fire in Gaza, the Israeli army drew criticism for the killing of two boys who were taking cover at a United Nations school in northern Gaza, according to The New York Times.

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Israeli Foreign Minister (and prime minister contender) Tzipi Livni responds to international criticism of the Gaza airstrikes that have killed hundreds: "The one who needs to be condemned by the international community is Hamas."

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Though it wasn't immediately official, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni won control of the country's ruling Kadima party and, if she is successful in forming a governing coalition, will be the first woman prime minister in more than three decades. Livni is currently Israel's lead negotiator with the Palestinians and, according to the newspaper Haaretz, was seen as likelier to reach a deal than her party rivals. Update

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