Monday, December 03, 2007

Another slip of the tongue?

What possessed Olmert to publicly declare Israel has no future without two-state solution? It is doubtful whether the statement “I never say what I believe and I never believe what I say,” attributed to Machiavelli among others, was ever fully adopted by anyone. Yet we can assume that some political figures do not insist on their views and words matching. Some observers even attribute this incongruity to our prime minister, who said: “If the two-state solution is shattered…the State of Israel is finished.”

It’s not completely clear whether Olmert indeed believes what he says in this matter, or whether he too, just like the other “peacemakers” in our region, already reached the moment of truth where he must start lying to the public. In any case, if he indeed believes in the necessary link between the failure to establish a Palestinian state and the end of the Jewish State, he should do everything in his power to establish a Palestinian state.

And if indeed we are dealing with the question of the Jewish State’s life or death, why the hell should it matter that our top negotiator would be a failing prime minister suspected of many deeds of corruption, with the chances of him reclaiming his post following elections close to zero? And why the hell does it matter whether the “partner” is a weak leader and the Fatah (which he is an integral part of) is responsible for more than 50 percent of terror attacks against us in recent years, if bestowing him with territory would prevent the “destruction of the Third Temple?”

And what significance is there to the fact that this same leader declared only several years ago that “Israel made its worst mistake by signing the Oslo agreement,” when what is hanging in the balance is rescuing the Jewish state from its own “territorial greed” and “demographic catastrophe?”

And why should we care about minor security issues, such as the renouncement of defensible borders, when removing the “Judea and Samaria disease” has suddenly become the ultimate cure for the ruin at our doorstep? And why should we waste our time worrying about the meaningless danger of Judea and Samaria being taken over by Hamas and having the group’s rockets in range of Ben Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Towers, when the country has no future without the “two-state vision?”

Our bargaining position shattered
Yet despite the great things we are expected to receive from this longed for agreement, which will take us from the slavery of occupation to the freedom of the 1967 borders, we shall still be left to ponder the following question: What caused an Israeli prime minister to publicly state something along the lines of “if I don’t give you a state, my own state will be finished”, whether he believes in it or not?

After all, Olmert is known as a crafty politician who is a master of working out good deals. What is the other side supposed to conclude when it hears Olmert claiming, even before talks got underway, that in his view the failure to establish a Palestinian state is a disaster that could ultimately terminate the State of Israel? The other side would conclude that it should boost its demands, or at least not compromise on the current ones.

Assuming this is not yet another Olmert slip of the tongue, like the nuclear one he made before, one wonders what caused him to publicly shatter whatever was left of Israel’s bargaining position? The most logical explanation is that the prime minister thinks that in order to sell an agreement that includes far-reaching concessions to the Israeli public he will have to make clear what the “horrific alternative” is – even at the price of gravely undermining our bargaining position.

And just like lately he has been repeating the warning that if a Palestinian state won’t be established, Hamas would take over Judea and Samaria, he will likely again be discussing the finished State of Israel, until his plans, or us, run out of steam.

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