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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mr. Olmert goes to Washington and finds tough love

Ehud Olmert met yesterday with George Bush, and all the mainstream media this morning are gloating that Bush is backing Olmert's surrender plan. For example, the Jerusalem Post's headline today was "Bush: Olmert's ideas 'bold,' 'important'." The lead-in to their story was:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said after his meeting with US President George W. Bush in the White House that he was "very satisfied" with the understanding reached concerning his plan for possible unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank.

In a briefing for Israeli reporters after the meeting, Olmert stressed that Bush's remarks about his plan, in which the president called Olmert's ideas "bold" and "important steps towards peace," were made in a "very clear and remarkable way,"

Members of Olmert's team noted that although the president did not completely endorse the "realignment" plan, Bush did treat it in a positive light and acknowledge it as a possible avenue in the future.

"Our preferred option, of course, is there to be a negotiated settlement," Bush said at a chummy news conference with Olmert. "On the other hand, as the prime minister said, that if he is unable to find a partner in peace, if nothing can go forward, he is willing to think about ways to advance the process forward."

From reading the story, one would not know that anyone in Washington was opposed to Olmert's suicide plan. There's a slight sense of Bush's lack of enthusiasm for unilateralism, but that's about it.

The New York Times' headline this morning is "West Bank Pullout Gets a Nod From Bush." And the article starts out:

President Bush offered conditional support on Tuesday for Israeli ideas for a substantial withdrawal of settlers from the West Bank, but insisted that the new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, first exhaust all possibilities for a negotiated solution.

Again, no mention that anyone is opposed.

Even Arutz Sheva - which headlined its story with a cooler "Bush vague on support for settlement blocs" (a reality which no one except the right here is willing to acknowledge) - didn't mention any opposition to Olmert.

Thousands of people demonstrated against Olmert's 'plan' yesterday. But the only place I found that covered was in Jeff Jacoby's column in today's Boston Globe. The column is a winner.

EHUD OLMERT'S first visit to Washington as Israel's prime minister has been eventful. What with meeting President Bush at the White House, addressing a joint session of Congress, and taking part in all the other social and substantive activities that get packed into a Washington summit, Olmert probably hasn't had much time to hang out and watch TV. So he may not have seen a new television ad that takes aim directly at Israel's ongoing campaign of territorial surrender.

The ad pulls no punches. Israeli withdrawals from south Lebanon and Gaza, it says, have played into Al Qaeda's hands and increased the terror threat ``for Israel and for us." Olmert's proposed ``convergence" program in the West Bank -- a follow-up to last year's unilateral retreat from the Gaza Strip, when 21 communities were destroyed and 9,000 Israelis were expelled -- will only intensify that threat. ``Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," the ad bitingly observes. ``We cannot afford any more of this insanity."


It isn't only in TV spots and on the Internet that Israel's plans for another destabilizing self-expulsion are being blasted. Thousands of pro-Israel/anti-Olmert protesters descended on Capitol Hill yesterday, some traveling hundreds of miles to urge the Bush administration to refuse its support for another Israeli retreat. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, former CIA director James Woolsey pointed out that a ``West Bank terrorist state" -- the foreseeable result of the Olmert plan -- would mortally threaten not only Israel but also its moderate Arab neighbor, Jordan. ``Israeli concessions will also make the US look weak," Woolsey warned. Washington's approval of yet another territorial surrender to Hamas and its allies will signal that we are ``reverting to earlier behavior patterns -- fleeing Lebanon in 1983, acquiescing in Saddam Hussein's destruction of the Kurdish and Shi'ite rebels in 1991, fleeing Somalia in 1993." Those behavior patterns eventually led to 9/11.

In a democracy, it is said, people get the leaders they deserve. Israeli voters chose Olmert in a free and fair election, knowing full well that he intended to ``disengage" from the enemy by giving more land. If that enemy threatened only the people of Israel, perhaps a case could be made for letting them lie in the bed they themselves have made.

But Israel's enemy -- a murderous Palestinian regime and the international terror network of which it is a part -- is our enemy, too. ``By Allah," proclaimed Sheik Ibrahim Mudayris in a sermon broadcast on Palestinian TV, ``the day will come and we shall rule America. . . . We shall rule the entire world." When Florida teenager Daniel Wultz was horribly wounded in a recent suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, terrorist leaders rejoiced that an American was among the casualties. After Daniel died of his injuries last week, Abu Nasser of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades cheered the news as ``a gift from Allah" and promised Americans ``more Daniel Wultzes and more pain and sorrow."

Israel cannot afford to succumb once again to the delusion that retreating in the face of terror will bring safety and peace of mind. Wars are not won by evacuations, as Winston Churchill told his British countrymen in 1940. Israelis, weary after so many years under siege, wish to pretend otherwise? Then it is up to their friends to tell them the truth.

Read Jacoby's entire column.


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