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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Annapolis bait and switch

Israel Insider has a very perceptive analysis of how the Olmert-Barak-Livni government fell for the bait and switch that Condoleeza Rice and the Bush administration pulled on them at Annapolis:
Back in Annapolis, Ehud Olmert enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame and glory, and the fleeting embrace of George W. Bush.

But after the Joint Understanding was filed away, and the reporters filed their stories, the Israelis began to realize the extent of the bait-and-switch that had been pulled on them, and what a sea-change in relations with the United States they were facing.

The ceremonial discrimination against the Israelis (forced to enter through the service entrance, banned from group photos, Israeli journalists banned from Arab events) and the post-gathering fiasco over the UN resolution was just the beginning. The release of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran was just the outward sign of the dramatic policy shift.

The bottom line is that the United States is fast pulling away from what had long been understood to be a strategic necessity: to deal Iran a military blow that would eliminate or radically reduce the existential threat that the current regime represents, emboldening Israel to make painful concessions that would allow a Palestinian state -- on some but not all of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) conquered by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967.

That was to be the deal, with Israel withdrawing to behind its security barrier, annexing three settlement blocs (Ariel, Etzion and Ma'aleh Adumim), evacuating outlying settlements, and reaching some kind of accomodation in Jerusalem's Holy Basin. In return, the US and Israel would make sure that Iran would no longer be a threat.

Annapolis was to be an assembly of Arab moderates that would isolate Iran. But no sooner was Annapolis over than Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah was jetting to Doha for the GCC Summit, holding hands and shmoozing with Iran's Ahmadinejad, looking for all the world like long-term lovers, even though the Iranian President was a first-time guest at the Summit.

Was it all a sham, then, the pre-Annapolis talk? Were the Israelis suckered into a formal, ceremonial endorsement of a one year plan to create another terror state on their doorstep, without getting any security in return? That's how Israeli leaders appear to be feeling today, as the United States feels suddenly distant and unresponsive, apparently unwilling to consider Israeli intelligence that Iran is racing at high speed to produce nuclear weapons, unwilling too to share real-time intelligence with Israel and even preventing Israel from launching a much-needed spy satellite to monitor developments in Iran.
We all know why this happened: Ehud K. Olmert is an incompetent and corrupt buffoon whose sole concern is keeping himself out of jail. He cowers in fear of the state prosecutors and is incapable of consulting with and taking the advice of his two most important ministers on the foreign policy front because he fears (correctly, it should be added) that they both aspire to replace him. Quite simply, you cannot run a country when you fear being indicted the next day. Olmert should have resigned more than a year ago. We can only hope and pray that the final Winograd report (which was supposed to be out by now) will create enough of an outcry to make him realize that he is destroying the country like this. Israel Insider adds:
The question now becomes whether Olmert will continue to prattle about the accomplishments of Annapolis and the painful sacrifices other Israelis will need to make, or whether he will face up to the grim reality that his naivete and misjudgements have contributed to a perhaps unprecedented crisis in US-Israeli relations, in which he was played for a fool and set up to take the fall for the inevitable failure of his "understandings" with Abbas, in which the Americans will be entitled to play the role of "judge" that Olmert has officially sanctioned.

Because if Israeli leaders continue to believe that 2008 is the crucial year to prevent Iran from going nuclear and being in a position to make good on Ahmadinejad's threat to wipe Israel off the map, then the coming year will be one in which Israel -- far from signing a peace treaty -- is forced to go it alone in dealing with that existential threat, even in defiance of American preferences.

On the other hand, it is possible that Israel is being maneuvered into a position where it is compelling to "go it alone" so that the US is positioned to pick up the peace and forge a new order in the Mideast after Iran and Israel bloody each other, or to impose a solution on Israel should a surprise attack against the Iranians prove successful but fuel outrage in the Arab world.

With these kind of daunting prospects outstanding, it is perhaps understandable that Olmert sought to nail down Bush's planned visit by leaking it ahead of the White House announcement. The way things are going, the Israeli Prime Minister may be enroute to a snub, or at least a very cold slap of the reality of his nation's imminent isolation, as the President of the United States makes a barnstorming tour of the Mideast celebrating a new policy that goes directly against the Israeli self-interest.
Personally, I'd bet on his prattling on about his accomplishments at Annapolis and about the painful sacrifices other Israelis will have to make.

There's a special place in hell reserved for Olmert.


At 3:07 PM, Blogger Witch-king of Angmar said...

Carl, I thought Jews do not believe in hell! :-)

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


That's actually not true.

Jews believe in a sort of purgatory in which one is judged during the first year after death. When that year is up, with the exception of people who violated certain commandments, our forefather Abraham comes and takes them out of purgatory and brings them to the Garden of Eden. As to those who violate the really bad commandments, there are some about whom it is said that their souls are burnt and the ashes are scattered under the feet of the righteous, and there are others about whom it says, "Geihenom [hell] is consumed and they are not consumed (i.e. they will burn forever)."

The reason one says Kaddish for a parent for eleven months after their death is to help their soul through this difficult period. It's eleven months rather than twelve, because only those classified as wicked spend a full twelve months in purgatory. On the other hand, I have heard stories of some very righteous people who insisted that their children say Kaddish for them for the full twelve months.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Yaakov said...

"a picture saves a thousand. " words. Olmert's wearing a red tie while Bush and Abbas are wearing color coordinated blue ties also (the shade of blue on Israel's flag). I think this was not left to chance as the president has media advisers that would manage an event such as this.
The subtext here is Olmert is an imposter, and Abbas Palestinians are the new "chosen" ones. Israel may look back on Annapolis as the end of our "special relationship" with the U.S. The U.S. has crossed the Rubicon and is no longer an honest broker but the advocate for the Arabs. There has been a sea change, but the Israeli administration acts as if it is business as usual.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger nachtwache said...

People scheme and make plans but in the end G-d will step in and destroy Israel's enemies.
Catholics also believe in purgatory, evangelicals don't. I there anything in the scriptures that talks about purgatory?


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