Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The calls, though have begun:
From the Left: Following GOC Northern Command Udi Adam's announcement of his planned resignation, MK Ami Ayalon (Labor) called Wednesday for Defense Minister Amir Peretz to do the same.
From the Center: Following Adam's announcement, Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer called on Halutz to resign.
"I respect and salute Adam's decision. He knew when to accept responsibility and I hope the Chief of Staff speak out soon and take responsibility as well," Ben-Eliezer said.
From the Right: MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said Adam's decision to resign expresses "integrity, self respect and the ability to accept responsibility" and called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Peretz and Halutz to follow in Adam's footsteps.
Monday, September 11, 2006
I was in a small trading room in
But ideology usually trumps common sense so when the second plane hit the second tower and the CNN anchorwoman stated, without irony and in all seriousness "what are the chances that two planes would crash" into the buildings one after the other? - we could do nothing but look at each other and laugh.
We sat on the 26th floor of what was then the tallest building in
Those of us with children called home to make sure they were inside. There was no knowing how well coordinated these terrorists were. It was certainly reasonable to assume that the Palestinians might also be planning an attack in coordination and sympathy with al-Qaeda. Not with the same boldness, of course, but sending terrorists to playgrounds and schools, restaurants and cafes was old hat for the Palestinian terror groups.
Here we are, five years hence and in the middle of a world war that is sure to last another decade or two (WWIII according to most, WWIV according to Norman Podhoretz). WWI lasted five years, costing
And the Cold War, or WWIII was fought by proxies on both sides until the façade that was Communism finally came tumbling down, not ending history but allowing liberty and freedom to be the yardstick against which all would be measured.
Now, we are in midst of yet another war.
Although I am optimistic that this war, too will turn out with the right side as victors. But, after the holocaust, "surviving" is no longer enough for the Jews. We can't afford to "just survive" again. So, one question nags at me as I look to the future battles that are sure to be fought - what will be the fate of
Sunday, September 10, 2006
His desperation shows clearly in this quote (Hebrew) from Ma'ariv: "We need to formulate a new understanding that will lead to a diplomatic process as quickly as possible" (empahsis mine). Quick enough to make an end run around a popular move to dump him?
After hearing Yossi Sarid at last night's anti-government rally I find it hard to believe that the Left will sell their souls to the devil once again. Unless of course, this was meant to panic the Right into saving his government. I wish I could say that the Israeli Right has learned its lesson about supporting cheats and liars, but after reading the weekend papers, I am not so sure.
"Repel the lies. I will not go back to those gas chambers. Not those physical ones, not those of the poisoned wells and slanders."
Friday, September 08, 2006
For two nights this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) Israel TV Channel 10 has broadcast propaganda films by the Lebanese and Hezbollah regarding both the capture and murder of IDF soldiers six years ago and the long-time MIA, Ron Arad. The films portrayed the professionalism of the Hezbollah military wing and showed its leader, Hassan Nasrallah in a most humane light as a man who deals with the international diplomacy with the same professionalism as he deals with the military side.
It was a difficult decision on whether to watch the films or not. On the one hand, many of us did not want to reward the terrorist propaganda machine with high ratings and on the other hand we wanted as much information as possible on both Ron Arad and the operations against
We constantly ask ourselves how we have reached a point where we can't bring our soldiers home. How is it that we have not been able to get information, let alone locate and liberate Ron Arad? These are difficult questions without real answers. Sometimes it seems that we are still caught up in the myths that Israeli special forces such as Sayeret Matkal and Shayetet or the Mossad can do. Sometimes are we caught up in the myth that what we say – for example that we don't ever leave our soldiers in the field – is what we do.
As we re-examine those myths we realize that sometimes there are things we just can't do. Sayeret Matkal and the Mossad can't always do what they want to do, because some things are just not possible to do. Often we have to rely on the incompetence of our enemies – such as the Ugandans in
After watching those films though and after witnessing the recent war in
We here have (rightfully) blamed Tzippi Livni for the failures to include even a minimal obligatory paragraph about the POW's but she is really just following the incompetence of nearly all of her predecessors. It should come as no shock to us. We appoint foreign ministers so as to appease their personal sensibilities (see David Levi, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Silvan Shalom and now Tzippi Livni) and have almost no high level career foreign service officers to speak of. This is where the left has certainly been correct in the arguments over the last few years – we don't take diplomacy serious enough. Prime Ministers not only don't appoint competent foreign ministers, most of the negotiating seems to be done by the personal lawyers of the PM! The only exception is when a general (a general!) is appointed to lead negotiations that have almost no military aspect to them.
We desperately need to learn the lessons of international diplomacy. It is not enough to be "respected" by their foreign peers (as Shimon Peres allegedly is). We need people who can articulate our interests and fight for them around the negotiating table as hard as our soldiers do in the field.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Now Lebanon is giving Israel an ultimatum to end the blockade. But Israel is in a much stronger position now than before the war, in a "fantasy" position according to Olmert.
I guess the Lebanese don't understand our great deterrent with Olmert-Livni-Peretz in command.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, said Wednesday afternoon that Lebanon would break Israel's air and naval blockade if the cordon was not called off within 48 hours.
"We will wait out the time frame (given) by Koffi Annan, 48 hours, and if the situation is solved, we will thank him . If not - the Lebanese government will take the necessary steps and break the blockade," Salloukh said.
NOTE: Who said that no one in Israel's government listens to anyone?
Israel will lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon on Thursday evening, the government announced Wednesday.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
In normal times, one would rely on Israel's government to act wisely and responsibly to gain the release of the soldiers held in Lebanon, as well of Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip. However, these are not normal days. There is a serious lack of confidence in the government, and even its supporters fear that it is now more focused on public relations than on making and implementing policy. Concern for the soldiers' well-being has also intensified because of the failed handling of the Ron Arad case, which taught the families that anyone who does not pressure the government is ignored. It is this sad conclusion that led thousands of protesters to Rabin Square last week.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Is the political protest dieing out or about to start afresh? The rally last night in support of the three Israeli POW's will end up being worthless if it does not get translated into political action. Everyone is trying to be "civil" in the various protest movements so as not to be seen as wanting to blame individuals. But this is politics and individuals must take responsibility for their actions. And if they don't take responsibility the citizenry must force them to. And if the citizenry doesn't force them to then all they have left is the kitsch and sentimentality of the tears that come with singing third rate songs when ideas and action is what is necessary.
If all the citizenry can manage to do is to cry over sentimental songs and are not willing to take the next step and lay the blame where it belongs then it can't expect anything to happen and it deserves the incompetence and corruption that it gets. Ze'ev Schiff in Ha'aretz wonders why there is no pressure on Hezbollah to release the prisoners even though that was one of the prime objectives of the war. Many of us have wondered aloud not only why a POW exchange (we took some 20-30 Hezbollah fighters prisoner in the war) was not part of the agreement but why even the minimal Red Cross visits were not even part of the agreement.
Politicians will not take risks unless they feel the pressure of being thrown out of office. Olmert, as we and others have stated is counting on two things to keep him in power – the fear of Bibi and the painting of the protest movement orange and the fear of the MK's (of all the parties) of facing the voters. The first is mere spin, since if this was an "orange" protest there would be tens of thousands of protesters on the streets. The left has not been able to organize a mass gathering since Rabin was assassinated. The smart move is to leave the leadership and the mouthpieces to the left an the organizing to the right. But that would require too much common sense.
What will it take to get things moving? It is clear that Olmert, Peretz, Livni and Halutz have no self-respect and hope to ride the whole thing out. It is just as clear that not one minister in the current government will resign on principal and give up the power that is his raison d'etre.
But maybe, just maybe, an honorable general from the current General Staff will state his own "mea culpa", resign and force those above him to hide in embarrassment. Some general, (Stern? Yadlin? Gantz? Eisenkott?) will have to stand up, admit some fault in this war and also state un-categorically that he cannot serve in good confidence under the current leadership.