Not quite . It takes a lot to render me speechless. But the events of the last few days push me in that direction. The foolishness, the essential errors in thinking, the dangers of statements that are being made take my breath away.
I will not belabor those statements here. It is too wearying. But I will touch on some essential points…
Olmert addressed the opening session of the Knesset yesterday and said much the same as he had said to the Cabinet a day earlier. "The current Palestinian leadership is not a terrorist leadership," he declared. And I say, "HUH?" Abbas has superb terrorist credentials. " An atmosphere of personal trust [between himself and Abbas] has been created," he explained. How does one deal with this drivel? I tried yesterday to find and could not locate the source, but only a few months ago, before there was so much sweetness and light between Abbas and Olmert, Olmert made a public statement complaining that Abbas had not kept his word about anything. And I’ve already pointed out that Abbas is dealing with Hamas, even as he deals with Olmert. Trust?
Olmert presented a scenario in which there is no choice — we must create a Palestinian state or we’ll be "contending in tears." The fact is that there will be tears if there IS such a state, and there is a choice.
I will return again and again to this: MK Rav Benny Elon, bless him, with the initiative that he is launching, offers a choice.
See his website for details: http://www.israelinitiative.com. This requires thinking out of the box, and it’s about time.
And then there’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He gave a report to the Knesset State Control Committee today, in which he said that in a few years (?) we would have 90% coverage from missile attacks of any kinds; I will not here deal with the details. All well and good — this is a necessary defensive tactic. But it’s being approached the wrong way. Barak has implied that our withdrawals from Judea and Samaria should be timed to the construction of this defensive field. That is, it’s OK to let terrorists establish themselves at our border, as long as we have equipment that will repulse their missiles and rockets. Wrong wrong wrong. Our task is to stop the terrorists and to take out their ability to hit us. Barak’s approach smacks of a siege mentality.
It’s as if he’s resigned to the fact that we are on the edge of creating a situation that presents us with strategic dangers.
And after him there’s Marc Otte , who is the EU’s Special Representative to the Middle East Process. Said he yesterday, the failure of the "process" now would cause greater repercussions than it did in 2000. So much is this the case, that he agrees with Condoleezza Rice that "failure is not an option." Really, now. He explained that if the Middle East did not achieve stability [by which he means a negotiated deal], it would be a "black hole in globalization."
What fascinates me is his assumption that the Middle East will achieve stability if we turn over half of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria to terrorists. He hasn’t the remotest notion that stability in the Middle East starts with a strong Israel.
Ah, but then we have PA Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Husseini. He has told The Jerusalem Post that any solution to the conflict will require turning over to the Palestinians ALL of east Jerusalem. Nothing less will do:
"The outline for Jerusalem is very clear , east Jerusalem is for the Palestinians and west Jerusalem is for the Israelis." The Old City, with the Temple Mount, the Kotel, and the Jewish Quarter with its abundance of old synagogues and ancient Jewish history, as well as all of the many modern Jewish neighborhoods established beyond the Green Line.
He should live so long, is my first response. But I’m glad he’s demanding this. For he may save us from ourselves. He asks too much to expect a positive response, not from Olmert or Ramon or Livni or Barak. And certainly not from Lieberman.
Let me note here, one more time, that the notion that "east" Jerusalem is "Arab" is highly fallacious. East Jerusalem is the heart of Jewish heritage. It was only during the 19 years of Jordanian occupation, during which it was made Judenrein, that it came to seem Arab.
Meanwhile, Syria has said that it would attend the conference if the Golan Heights were put on the table. But Olmert has indicated it will not be.
Assad has declared that he would go to war to get the Heights back.
For the first time Eli Yishai, head of Shas , which is part of the coalition, spoke out against negotiations with the PA, saying Olmert should stop until terrorism is halted.
"Coming to a summit while terrorism continues is a decision that is doomed to failure. The summit is liable to bring about more terrorism, which happened when Barak went to Camp David. Olmert needs to cancel. Drafting a document would be artificial and pointless.
"Jerusalem is stronger than all Israeli governments past and future. I am against talking about what to give up, because it only damages us."
Better than criticizing , let him pull out.
More is becoming apparent about the recent Israeli raid inside of Syria. The latest is that Israel wanted to strike as early as July, and supplied clear and detailed intelligence on what was going on in Syria to US officials, who were astounded by the images provided. But, while some US officials were in favor of the raid, others were not.
And guess who led the nay-sayers? None other than our good friend Condoleezza Rice. She offered to publicly condemn Syria for having a nuclear facility instead. That would have really shamed Syria into stopping.
What was the concern of those opposed? That the raid might have a "negative influence" on the whole region. More people who don’t get it. The influence on the region was fantastic.
Justice Eliyahu Winograd has let us down . His commission, which is scheduled to release its final report on the failures of the War in Lebanon, has decided it will not name names for "fear of causing political upheaval." It will point no fingers regarding who was responsible, and will not recommend that Olmert step down. He started out like a house on fire, and I wonder what sort of pressure was brought to bear on him.
The IDF is reporting that there’s been a steep rise in smuggling of weapons, including rockets, into Gaza in the last several weeks. Hamas has taken over from clans in controlling the smuggling routes.
Olmert was questioned for over four hours in his home today regarding the allegedly illegal role he played as finance minister in order to help a friend better acquire the controlling interest in Bank Leumi. More questioning will follow on Thursday.
It would be nice if one of these investigations actually led to something.