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May 16, 2008: Irony

May 16, 2008

For all his confusion, his desire to see us pull back so that Abbas can have a state that is not "Swiss cheese," President Bush came through yesterday in his address to the Knesset, for which he has been much praised:

"The Jewish people endured the agony of the pogroms, the tragedy of the Great War, and the horror of the Holocaust…Soulless men took away lives and broke apart families. Yet they could not take away the spirit of the Jewish people, and they could not break the promise of G-d.

"…..What followed was more than the establishment of a new country. It was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham and Moses and David — a homeland for the chosen people: Eretz Yisrael.

As he spoke of a US-Israel relationship "grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul," many lamented the lack of such words from our own leaders.


What did Olmert talk about:

"This visit provided another important opportunity for us to discuss the advancement of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in accordance with your vision, Mr. President, of two states for two peoples. Your personal involvement, and the commendable efforts of the Secretary of State, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, is vital for the success of the intensive negotiations taking place between us and the Palestinians."


Bush, rooted solidly in his own religious tradition , is able to speak words unabashedly and easily that Israeli leaders, in the main, are not comfortable with. We have not moved past our trauma, we are too eager to be accommodating (fawning), and, sadly, still too unsure yet of who we are and what rights accrue to us.


There were a handful of members of the Knesset who walked out as Olmert spoke. And there was anger because he assured Bush that this body, this Knesset, would approve a peace agreement when it came. He has no right to speak in the names of the MKs, and in fact would face considerable opposition.


Haaretz is saying that people from Olmert’s office believe that Bush might carry out an operation against Iran in the coming months. They report themselves well satisfied with Bush’s attitude in private talks on the subject. Excellent, if so.


But at any rate, the Bush visit is over now, and it’s back to business (and, thank goodness, Jerusalem traffic unencumbered by the jams caused by security).

Defense officials are saying that once Bush leaves (today) there will be a military escalation in Gaza.

What is of note is that even though several other top IDF officials have been pushing for a major operation in Gaza, until now Chief of Staff Ashkenazi has been reluctant. One cannot help but wonder what the political considerations were, for it is his head that would roll if things went sour. But now, with the attacks that have come in the last week, reports are that he is more inclined to recommend a ground incursion deep into Gaza.

With this all, I still retain my "wait and see" stance. For Barak is due to go into Egypt this coming week and will discuss that ceasefire — a ceasefire that Olmert may still be inclined to accept. Olmert himself is scheduled to go to Egypt the week after.


The barrage continues. Last night three Kassam fell in Sderot, one on a synagogue.


The two-year old girl who was injured by the Katyusha in Ashkelon, had been lying unconscious in the hospital. Now the glad news is that Tair Afgin has regained consciousness, although she still requires surgery to remove shrapnel from her head.

The child’s father, Adi, told YNet that the family would not even consider relocating to a different city. “We’ll go back to Ashkelon for now. The city needs our support. We don’t believe running away is the solution…It only encourages terrorism."

It is because of such people of courage that we will win.


The High Court has rejected the request of Olmert that he be permitted to appeal the decision allowing court testimony to be taken from Talansky before the indictment on Olmert has been served. The testimony will be taken in 9 days.


Much more after Shabbat. I close with a link to a site that provides a glowing picture of Israeli scientific achievements in 2008 (with thanks to Micki Lewis for calling my attention to this):





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