And the election draws near. I had hoped that my Friday posting would have sufficed. But, in response to some communications I’ve received, I’ll make some brief additional comments.
The electoral contest is not between Likud and National Union. It is not a question of which one better represents the aspirations and values of citizens who are Zionists and nationalists.
The contest is between Likud and Kadima, and anyone who imagines otherwise is perhaps evading the hard, cold reality of the situation. As my friend and colleague Jeff. D. put it: this can be seen as a situation of ideology vs. realpolitik (politics based on practical and not theoretical considerations). Strengthening the “right wing” (clearly a sound thing to do from an ideological perspective) is pointless if Likud does not secure more mandates than Kadima and receive the nod from President Peres to form a coalition.
For those who perceive Netanyahu and Livni as being equally undesirable, I must respond that I most vociferously disagree. Netanyahu certainly has flaws, but so does he have considerable strengths — not the least of which is his strong credibility with regard to countering the Iranian threat. A man of considerable intelligence, he demonstrates a clear understanding of the terrorist threat we face, and our need to stand strong for ourselves. I heard him pledge in very public forum to keep Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. And I know he can make our case stunningly well in the international community.
Across the board, I see Livni as a disaster for the nation. Most of you, undoubtedly, have never been present for a talk she has given, in which she has explained why we must give our nation away. I have. She is so convoluted in her thinking, so lacking in Zionist dedication, so taken with pleasing the international community, so fuzzy-headed in the case she makes, that I find I am not able to tolerate her words and flee from the room lest I scream.
Charges leveled at me that accuse me of selling out, or not being true to my values, or having no faith, I reject out of hand. It is precisely because I am passionately Zionist and want to see my nation strong that I have taken the position I have.
I grieve that the electoral system of my nation makes it all so difficult, but I make no apologies for my position.
One last point (with thanks to Jack G.), and hopefully this will be the end of discussion until after the election. It is Lieberman of Yisrael Beitenu who is the spoiler. Those who plan to vote for him in the expectation that he is truly right wing and nationalist are in for a bitter surprise. A vote for Yisrael Beitenu is better cast for Likud.
How telling this is: The Post reports that “government officials” say that Olmert and Livni are now ready to release more and “higher quality” (an obscene description) prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit than they were willing to release before the operation in Gaza.
How perverse this is. Our military operation should have — and probably would have, had it not be terminated prematurely — made it possible to secure Shalit for fewer prisoners, or, in my opinion none. We should not have stopped fighting until Hamas caved, or at very least, we should now be refusing to open crossing until he is home. That we would give more now than before the operation puts the lie to any notion that we “won.” The winning party in a war does not have to deal this way.
Officials are saying that the war created this “window of opportunity” for securing Shalit, but I am not seeing it this way. I am seeing that they want him home before the new government comes to power so that they can go down in history as the ones who saved our kidnapped soldier. Originally they clearly had expectations of making this happen even before the election, in the hopes of affecting that election. But as we’re talking about a very short time frame now, it seems less likely. Should it happen before Tuesday, I would hope that our citizens, while rejoicing at Shalit’s release, would be far too savvy to be taken in by this ploy.
Understand, Hamas is looking for the release of some 1,000 to 1,500 prisoners, many who were directly involved in attacking Jews. How many innocents would suffer as the result of such a release?
After a very extended period of silence, Olmert today — two days before the election — announced that he endorsed Livni as prime minister.
The Labor party, pegging it properly, called this “the…most bizarre announcement made in this election campaign.
“The fact that it took Olmert, a member of the same party as Livni – who was his deputy – the three years of his term and a lengthy campaign in order to announce after many deliberations that he is endorsing her indicates more than anything else the contempt he harbors towards her.”
It’s time to take another look at our “moderate” “partners for peace” in Fatah:
PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad said yesterday that, “I know of no Israeli politician willing to offer a reasonable solution to the conflict. They’re all interested in a partial solution…”
Translation: No Israeli politician is willing to surrender everything we demand, and we don’t compromise.
Meanwhile, according to the Palestinian news agency Maan, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking to the press in Turkey, said, with regard to a unity government, “We are not asking Hamas to recognize Israel…”
This is worth repeating: Fatah is not demanding that Hamas recognize Israel before a unity government is formed. What Abbas is seeking is a “coalition government that recognizes international legitimacy,” which strikes me as a bit of word play.
Abbas wants to secure the end of the siege on Gaza — with the unspoken goal of having increased legitimacy for Fatah via supervision at the crossings.
For the second time in short order, Hamas has stolen UNRWA supplies in Gaza. This latest incident took place Thursday night, when Hamas seized a very sizeable 200 tons of supplies, including flour and other staples. I have no information on exactly how Hamas accomplished this.
As a result, UNRWA has suspended its aid to Gaza; the movement into Gaza of 40 truckloads (800 tons) of supplies scheduled for today was cancelled. UNRWA’s ire not withstanding, this strikes me as grandstanding. For UNRWA is the agency always lamenting about the needs of the people.
Vice President Joe Biden, in a talk delivered yesterday at a security conference in Munich, said that the US was prepared to open talks with Iran, but was also ready to act preemptively if Teheran didn’t abandon its nuclear ambitions.
I would like to believe that he truly speaks for the administration and means what he says, and that action would come before the small remaining window of opportunity closed. The talk, which is supposed to come first, can, and very likely would, be used by Iran as a stalling technique.