Monday, January 15, 2007

Two Uri Porat Op-eds

I received this from CR:-

Uri Porat

Ehud Olmert and Tzippi Livni are counted among the most enthusiastic supporters of the disengagement from Gaza, even more so than their leader in Kadima, Ariel Sharon. If the latter is suspected of conceiving the idea of expelling 7,000 Gush Katif residents so that the left, whom he despised, would coddle him and loosen the noose of corruption investigations tightening around his neck, his two sanctimonious disciples genuinely regarded the disengagement as a brilliant move. They positioned themselves on the front line of those disseminating the new "diplomatic vision" and squandered no effort in promoting the theory that, in the absence of a partner, Israel could negotiate with itself and map out its borders as it wished. Following the disengagement and the expulsion of 7,000 Israelis from their homes, Sharon took fright and announced that there would be no further unilateral withdrawals; but Olmert remained enamoured of this folly and, after inheriting the Kadima leadership, he even upgraded the disengagement to realignment, which is the same, only more.

The warnings of those who regarded this policy as dangerous charlatanism which would jeopardise national security went unheeded. On the contrary. After the elections Olmert was convinced that state security had been significantly improved as a result of disengagement. He therefore permitted himself to entrust the defence portfolio to the strike impresario with the megaphone, provided that, first and foremost, he defend his own regime.

Not even in the throes of the second Lebanese war a few months later did Olmert renounce the realignment plan; in fact he bragged that the war would help its implementation. Only after the great security fiasco had been exposed did he mumble for the first time something that sounded like capitulation.

The follow-up, which finally put paid to the swindle that spawned Kadima, came about a few days ago when deputy prime minister, foreign minister and acting justice minister Tzippi Livni met with heads of local councils. It was at this event that the lady changed her tune and somewhat surprisingly conceded unreservedly that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza had been a strategic error which had strengthened the extremists in the Palestinian Authority and brought about a rise in terror.

Fine. She admitted her mistake. So what's the conclusion? Resignation?

No way! On the contrary. Here when you confess your sins, not only are they forgiven – they're rewarded. That being so, she immediately declared her intention of running for the premiership, no less.

In any normal country, when a politician admits failure and accepts responsibility for a blunder which harmed that country's most vital security interests, he announces, in the same breath, his resignation. But in Israel a politician can accept responsibility for a fatal error and not only does he not resign, he's praised and hailed as a person of "integrity". If so, why should only Tzippi Livni be hailed as having "integrity"? Why not Olmert, too?

And indeed, earlier this week, on the eve of his departure for yet another of his beloved overseas jaunts, he whined to the foreign press: A year ago I believed that we could withdraw from the territories unilaterally, but it must be said that our experience in Lebanon and Gaza is not encouraging … we returned to the international border in Gaza and look what's happening: every day they fire Kassam missiles on Israel.

Fine. He admitted that this isn't the way to build a wall. So what's the conclusion? Resignation?

No way! He went to China to learn how to build a wall.

(Yediot Aharonot, 21 Tevet 5767 – 11 January 2007)


And here's one that appeared on the Yedioth site:-

Kadima's spin industry working fulltime

Olmert is living in a fictitious world, and he's having a ball

Uri Porat

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resembles a character from a well-known Israeli skit that is always haughty and can never be depressed. Although he is constantly being plagued with tragic news, Olmert is living in a fictitious world, and he's having a ball.

On the eve of the New Year Israel needs a good sense of humor if it wishes to take pride in its achievements; however, the prime minister did so at his official residence Sunday when he drank a toast to the people along with his Kadima party members.

The backdrop to the festive gathering can be summed up as follows:

The State of Israel's President, Moshe Katsav, is under police investigation; the PM himself, Ehud Olmert, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres are being investigated by the state comptroller; former Justice Minister Tzachi Hanegbi is awaiting trial; Justice Minister Haim Ramon was forced to resign and his trial has already commenced.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz are being investigated by the Winograd Committee; Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi is being investigated by the Zeiler Commission and chairman of the coalition government Avigdor Itzchaky is being investigated by the state comptroller.

This is the state in which the country's upper echelons have become embroiled during the Kadima rule. And this is besides the escape by the skin of its teeth from the fiasco in Lebanon, the painful loss of life, the north and its smoldering forests, destroyed buildings and an abandoned population during the war that is still left licking its wounds.

This deterioration didn't ruin Olmert's state of euphoria. He was particularly festive when he informed his guests that:

"Kadima is today the most important political force in the country...Kadima has had no major failure in the last Knesset...the public's feelings towards the war do not reflect its real achievements...the nations of the world understand the great achievements of this war."

The example he managed to present as a "great achievement" during the war was a knockout: "When the president of the US decides to meet Tzipi Livni and asks her to convey to me his praise for Israel, I understand that beyond the criticism there are some real achievements."

Shall we cry or laugh? Cry, we should definitely cry. If it was just the public that could be sold the Winograd spin as though it were a State commission of inquiry, so be it. But to trick Knesset members of the "country's most important political force"? Now that's going a bit too far.

It appears that Kadima's spin industry is working at full capacity these days. It just completed the trickery of appointing investigators to investigate it and it's already onto the next spin.

How do we get through the fiasco of the war? Simply: Cabinet minister Tzipi Livni, who was not heard during the war, will meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in New York and they will "talk peace." Just a few months ago he was viewed by her as "irrelevant", but now for Kadima to survive, she has taken him out of the closet and even ironed his suit.

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