Motzei Hag (After Rosh Hashana)
After two days of Rosh Hashana, with heart-felt prayer and deep contemplation, I have returned to my computer to find more of the same from Olmert — as if he haunts us and we can never quite be done with him. It is certainly not what I hoped to return to, but his comments must be answered, and so I do this posting now…
Put simply, Olmert granted a “farewell” interview to Yediot Ahronot, which has made press in several places. He warns us that if we want peace with the Palestinians we must leave most, if not all, of the West Bank (i.e., Judea and Samaria) and eastern Jerusalem.
The Palestinians won’t settle for less, you see. So we have to do the compromising, the surrendering of what is ours.
It boils down, again, to the question of who needs this agreement. Olmert behaves as if we must have it, and thus must give them what they want — which is exactly the wrong position to take. They have to want it, and, as it is, there is precious little evidence that they do.
I will not belabor here what we would get in return for surrendering all that Olmert suggests we give up. I’ve covered that ground a hundred times before and undoubtedly will a hundred times again. Olmert says we will get “peace.” I say that we will get terrorism that makes the Kassams coming out of Gaza seem like child’s play. Hamas is breathing down Abbas’s neck, and he is powerless to enforce any agreement. The entire thought of negotiating with him is unmitigated nonsense.
What Olmert does is not only advance a position that weakens us from a security position, he also weakens our sense of ourselves, and of our rights. He is a destructive force.
Allow me here to simply quote Olmert with regard to the fact that the Palestinians don’t meet our readiness to compromise:
“Unfortunately, the Palestinians don’t have the necessary courage, strength, internal determination, will or enthusiasm.”
With this he makes the argument for giving them nothing. And yet he persists. Idiocy.
Unfortunately, he continues to represent a danger, although a diminishing one. He talks about “finishing the job” (i.e., negotiations) before leaving office. This is grandstanding: A deal is not going to be struck before he leaves office, even if that is a few months away. If he were to put his signature to something of an partial nature — outlining what had been agreed to so far — it might be binding down the road. That shouldn’t be permitted to happen, because he is now heading an interim government that the attorney general has cautioned to act with “restraint.” Besides which, that would require the Palestinians to also sign off on progress, and this they do not intend to do, whatever the calls from the likes of negotiator Saeb Erekat now for Olmert to put something on paper.
Abbas has made a comment, however, that he hopes Olmert’s statements are a “deposit” for the next government. Therein, too, lies a danger — that the Palestinians will demand that any future negotiations be based on what Olmert said, even if it was not in writing.
Some of us have been in synagogue the last couple of days, and some of us have been having meetings. Reportedly, Livni and Mofaz have had their first meeting since the primaries. What, if anything was promised to Mofaz is not clear. What amuses me is that the meeting was referred to as “clandestine.” How clandestine if it was being reported in the news?
Livni and Barak also met. But the word here is that Labor’s demands are not being met and that no progress was made in forming that coalition.
The US Defense Department, I am pleased to note, has agreed to sell the Israeli Air Force 25 F-35 stealth-enabled Joint Strike Fighters.
According to the Post, a Pentagon official has said that “the sale of the stealth jets to Israel was essential to American national interests and was meant to ensure that Israel maintained its qualitative edge over armies of neighboring countries.”
This is a plane that is not only stealth, it can hover, and land vertically and take off vertically is lightly loaded and in a few hundred feet if fully loaded.
I wrote recently about violence that is being presumed — without solid evidence — to be from the right wing here, and I alluded briefly to the left-wing bias in this country. Evelyn Gordon has written a very powerful and painful piece on this subject, that tells it absolutely straight. I urge you to read it. She has addressed an issue that has been too much hidden: