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Geopolitics

Say It Ain't So, Silvio! Berlusconi Says He Won't Run Again, After All

CORRIERE DELLA SERA, LA STAMPA, TG5 (Italy) TWITTER

Worldcrunch

ROME - For one brief, shining moment, he was back. For those who like their politics, well, colorful, the prospect of another run for office by controversial three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had hung in the air for the past two months in Italy.

But on Tuesday morning, the media mogul phoned in to one of his family-owned network's news shows, TG5, to declare that he would not be a candidate for prime minister in next year's elections.

Berlusconi, who was forced to resign last year as Italy faced demands from Europe to slash its debt, said he would use his clout to help "all those who don't see themselves as part of the Left" to find a consensus "moderate" candidate in the 2013 elections, La Stampa reports.

Berlusconi added he would consider backing another term for the interim Prime Minister Mario Monti, Corriere della Sera reports.

After the news spread of his announcement, reaction was a mix of incredulity and irony:

#Berlusconi non si ricandida...che #succede? E" già arrivato Natale?

— davide d'amico (@wolfino78) October 9, 2012

(Berlusconi won't run...what happened? Is it already Christmas?)

Berlusconi has been a singular presence in Italian politics and society for two decades, with his unique and some would say inappropriate style of leadership that included sex scandals, diplomatic gaffes and yet a unique ability to stay at the center of debate.

The billionaire media mogul still controls the country's main private television network, and is expected to remain active in both center-right politics and popular culture.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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