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February 5, 2008: How?

February 5, 2008

How is it that after everything , Olmert should come before the Knesset, in a session devoted to the implications of Winograd, and deliver an impassioned talk, and the Knesset should vote to accept his statement?

I have no answers.

The vote was purely symbolic , and the approval was given by a plurality of the Knesset, 58 – 53, not a majority, which would be 61 or more. Five members of his coalition voted against him; some of those from opposition parties heckled him as he delivered his address. And yet…

What he spoke about was the need to have gone to war, and his readiness to accept responsibility.

Sitting in the visitors gallery were bereaved families . When Olmert spoke about decisions that were "inevitable and realistic," the father of one soldier who died in the war cried out, interrupting Olmert,

"You are not my prime minister! I renounce my citizenship."

Other bereaved family members then rose to speak as well, interrupting the proceedings. One pained mother yelled, "My son died during the war! Where were your sons?" (Olmert’s sons live out of the country and did not fight — a fact that embitters many.)

The reservists were not permitted in the gallery with the bereaved parents during the Knesset session, for fear of disruption. "Those who are willing to send them to battle, including the Prime Minister," said MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP), "are not willing to look them in the eyes when they address the parliament regarding the Winograd Report."

Ultimately, the families in the gallery were escorted out , and Olmert was visibly shaken. In the Rose Garden they joined the reservists in a protest, vowing that they were not yet done with Olmert. MKs Ayeh Eldad and Uri Ariel, both National Union-NRP, joined them.


Work towards bringing down Olmert will continue from inside the Knesset as well. Prior to the Knesset session, the Parliamentary Lobby for the Adoption of the Winograd Committee’s Recommendations met for the second time in a separate room in the Knesset building. Present were members of National-Union-NRP (Zevulun Orlev and Aryeh Eldad), Likud (Gideon Sa’ar, faction chair, and Yisrael Katz), Meretz (Zehava Gal-On), Labor (Danny Yatom, who is challenging Barak strongly now, and Ophir Pines-Paz), and even Kadima (Marina Solodkin). They were joined by bereaved parents and reservists, as well as by Uzi Dayan, of the Tafnit party, who has been working to bring down Olmert.

Said Lobby chair, MK Orlev , the goal remains to bring down Olmert.

"Our protest has not ended just because the prime minister’s defense minister has saved him at this point," said MK Zehava Gal-On. "And though a campaign of delegitimization has begun against those calling for his resignation, the prime minister must know that the protests will only grow stronger."

May the Almighty grant the strength of giants to everyone fighting this necessary battle.


Israeli Security is now considering the possibility that the suicide bombers who launched yesterday’s attack in Dimona may have come from Judea — from the area of Hevron. The security fence has not been built that far south and they would have been able to move through the hills into the Negev.

Even if this turns out to be the case, it in no way negates the concern about terrorists who came out of Gaza and into the Sinai, who still might, or already have, crossed the border into the Negev. The country is on high alert and several specific warnings exist.

There have now been some claims from Hamas that they were responsible for the attack.


Sderot is still under attack from Kassams. This morning a Kassam hit a fuel tank in a factory in the industrial zone. This evening 10 rockets hit, one directly on a house, wounding three and seriously damaging the house. There were also some power outages.

How long can this continue?


Please know that, while it is difficult for me to carry news of every one, there are attacks of a smaller scale going on regularly. As example, terrorists in Gaza have fired on farmers working in the fields of Kibbutz Nir Oz near the Gaza fence; there were no casualties, but equipment was damaged.


Security Minister Avi Dichter has ordered the closing of an educational center in eastern Jerusalem that was run by a group affiliated with Hamas; the center was used for recruitment.

The director of the center is, of course, denying all charges.


Information is just a bit fuzzy. Yesterday there were violent clashes — with one Palestinian dead and many wounded — between masked Palestinian gunmen and Egyptian police at the border, which had been sealed hermetically by the Egyptians, so tightly that people on the wrong side could not get back to where they had come from. Hamas was protesting this closure, which they said they would no longer tolerate, while the Egyptians, who were shooting with live ammunition, declared that the border would not reopen.

But there are reports (which require confirmation) coming out since that indicate that the border indeed has been reopened and that free passage is being permitted.


A bit of humor, however black: According to Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, reported by the Post, a Hamas spokesman is charging that European nations, acting as mediators for the prisoner release in exchange for Shalit, have been approached by members of the PA asking that Marwan Barghouti be taken off the list. (This confirms that he was/is on the list.)

But Barghouti is a big Fatah hero , responsible for much terrorist work within his organization. Why wouldn’t the PA want him released?

Because Hamas will get credit for this , enhancing its popularity in the street.

That’s the Hamas version , and true as far as it goes. But there’s also another reason: Barghouti, who is very popular — what does it say about a people if its greatest heroes are terrorists? — would represent a threat to a weak Abbas.

Since Barghouti ought to stay in prison for the rest of his life, the PA petition is quite fine.

At any rate, because of an IDF action in Gaza that took out some Hamas terrorists yesterday, the negotiations are on hold now anyway.


I am very much aware that as I write highly significant primaries are taking place in the US, but there is no way to comment, as the time difference makes it impossible for me to know yet what will transpire.




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