07:15:41 PM
11 2007


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INTERNATIONAL: Misna; For right-wing demagogues, the effect is even more disheartening. Binyamin Netanyahu has built his whole strategy on the Iranian scare, hoping to ride the Bomb right into the Prime Minister's office. Furthermore, when the Iranian issue cools down, the Palestinian issue warms up. That is especially true in Washington DC. President Bush is in trouble, his fiascos in Afghanistan and Iraq are still dragging on. Any American effort to install a stable government in Iraq, with its Shiite majority, depends on the backing of Shiite Iran. Bush's dream of delivering a lightning stroke against Iran and thus leaving his imprint on history is going up in smoke. What can he do in order to leave any positive legacy at all? The default alternative is Israeli-Palestinian peace. Perhaps he will now give stronger backing to poor Condoleezza. Perhaps he himself will get more involved. Fact: he is soon going to visit Israel for the first since entering the White House. True, this effort has not much chance of success, but people in Jerusalem are worried nonetheless. That's just what we need - Bush acting like that anti-Semite, Jimmy Carter, who twisted Begin's arm and forced him to make peace with Egypt! So what to do? One can instruct Israeli diplomats abroad to redouble their efforts to convince the governments that the situation has not changed, that one must fight against the Iranian bomb, whether it exists or not. But tell that to the Russians and the Chinese! The world's governments are happy to see the end of Bush's pressure - all except that happy couple, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, the new White House poodles now Tony Blair has gone.

THE NEW situation poses a thorny dilemma for Ehud Olmert. On the way back from Annapolis, he uttered some amazing statements. If the "two states solution collapses," he declared, "the State of Israel is finished". Nobody in the peace camp has yet dared to go as far as that. Does he believe what he says, or is it just a new spin? That is the question that is now dominating the discourse in Israel. In other words: is he just trying to win time, or is he really going to work for a peace settlement? All indications suggest that he is in no position to take any step whatsoever. If he tries to carry out the first phase of the Road Map and dismantle some settlement outposts, he will face not only the determined opposition of the settlers and their supporters, and the silent (but highly effective) opposition of the military, but also obstruction by his government colleagues. Before the first outpost is dismantled, his coalition will break apart. Olmert has no other coalition handy. Ehud Barak has been trying again and again to outflank him on the right and cannot be relied upon in a crisis. The Labor Party is a chaotic, spineless and unprincipled body. The shrunken Meretz party has a faction of only five Knesset members, four of whom are competing with each other for the party leadership. The ten members of the Arab factions (that's what they are generally called, even though one Hadash Knesset member is a Jew) are outcasts, and no "Zionist" government could be seen to rely openly on their support. And in Olmert's own faction there are several extreme-right members who would obstruct any peace effort. In such a situation, the natural tendency of a real politician like Olmert is to do nothing, to issue pronouncement left and right (in both senses) and try to gain time. This week, the government announced plans to build 300 new homes in the odious Har Homa settlement, near Jerusalem. For someone like me, who has spent many days and nights demonstrating against the building of this particular settlement, that is bitter news indeed. It certainly does not indicate a turn for the better. On the other hand, I have heard an interesting thesis from one of Olmert's inner circle. According to this, knowing that he is going to lose power, Olmert may tell himself: if I must fall, why not enter history as somebody who has sacrificed himself on the altar of a lofty principle, instead of just vanishing as a good-for-nothing political hack? If he has no other way out, he might choose this solution - particularly as his immediate family is pushing him in this direction. I would evaluate this possibility as "unlikely" - but stranger things have happened. In any case, perhaps the peace forces should overcome their understandable reservations and try to influence public opinion in a way that would help Olmert turn in this direction.

EITHER WAY, one thing is certain: that son of a bitch, Ahmadinejad, has screwed us again. He has stolen our most precious possession: the Iranian Atomic Threat". [MB]

foto -© israelnewswire.com

Source by Misna

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