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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stop the clock!

The 48 hour countdown I set in motion yesterday (for the start of a ground offensive in Gaza) seems to have, thankfully, ground to a halt for the time being.

Why?   Did Olmert come to his senses?

No, our Prime Minister hasn't gotten any smarter since yesterday morning.  He just managed to use the old Jedi mind trick on Shas Chairman Eli Yishai to convince him there is no reason to bolt from the coalition since [~waves hand in front of glassy-eyed victim~] there are no negotiations - secret or otherwise - being held over the fate of Jerusalem!

Truth be told, I'm not terribly surprised at this turn of events.  Anyone who has small children knows that it isn't all that hard to convince someone of something that they already want very badly to believe. 

Yishai painted himself into a corner with his pledge to resign as soon as Jerusalem came up for discussion and was desperately looking for a way out.  So, rather than demand assurances from Olmert and Livni that Jerusalem was not now -NOR WOULD IT EVER BE -on the table, he settled for an easy lie (or at best, half-truth).

Let's see if we can deconstruct the house of cards within which Mr. Yishai has taken refuge:

a.  The Shas party is adamantly opposed to the division of Jerusalem.

b.  Shas has threatened to leave the government the instant the division of Jerusalem is placed on the table.

c.  There is compelling, independently-corroborated, evidence to indicate that secret negations on Jerusalem's fate are already well underway.

d.  Both Olmert and Livni have made it clear that Jerusalem WILL BE NEGOTIATED, although they claim it will be left for last.

e.  Yishai hears the words "We are not negotiating over Jerusalem right now", and grabs this lifeline Olmert and Livni have thrown him saying, "OK, You say you aren't negotiating Jerusalem right now... that's good enough for me!"

Do you see the logical problem with his position? 

If Eli Yishai says he won't keep the Shas party in a government that negotiates over the fate of Jerusalem... and the current government's leaders are perfectly open about the fact that they have started a process that will absolutely, positively lead to negotiations over Jerusalem... how can he justify staying? 

It's like someone sitting high up in a tree watching someone saw through the branch on which he's sitting... all the while telling himself that the person wouldn't dare saw all the way through.  But the person continues to saw and tells the ambiguous truth, that so long as he is sawing the branch will still be there.  Yet the person out on the limb stubbornly refuses to see that at the end of the process the limb  - and he - will fall.

There is no sane rationale for remaining in the tree, or in the coalition, under such circumstances! 

Jerusalem is going to be negotiated!  Heck, we have only the word of Olmert and Livni that it isn't already being discussed!  Shas is going to eventually have to leave the government!  Every day that the Olmert government remains propped up the population of Israel's periphery communities remains in peril!  Why would Shas continue to prop up a government that cares more about preventing a potential humanitarian crisis among Gaza's population than for ending an existing humanitarian crisis among its own citizens?!

The answer is ... I don't know.  I honestly don't understand it!!!

Don't get me wrong.  I am pleased as punch that we won't be sending large numbers of our soldiers into harms way in order to keep Olmert's coalition from imploding.  But the reason for this stay of execution is a bit difficult for a thinking person to swallow!

[I seem to have used up my yearly allotment of exclamation pints with this post]

Posted by David Bogner on February 14, 2008 | Permalink


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Okay, I'm kinda new to the Israeli political scene. What was Mr. Yishai like before all of this? Did he stand by any of his convictions, ever?

Is there anyone in this country who sticks to what he/she says? (Not a rhetorical question, I'm really asking)

Posted by: Baila | Feb 14, 2008 12:06:03 PM

Yes, there are politicians here who stick to what they say. They don't stay in politics, though.

Posted by: Lila | Feb 14, 2008 12:39:53 PM


Posted by: fred | Feb 14, 2008 2:28:25 PM

*Tookland accent*

It comes in pints?


Posted by: a. | Feb 14, 2008 3:42:24 PM

If Yishai had any integrity, he would never have gotten into bed with those guys in the first place.

Posted by: psachya | Feb 14, 2008 3:55:20 PM

2 Weeks.

Posted by: JoeSettler | Feb 14, 2008 4:01:34 PM

Of course, if what you report is what is being said, then -- as soon as somebody says "we're not Doing X right now," one should logically infer that X is slated to happen in the future -- triggering response Y that was promised?

Maybe it's just me.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Feb 14, 2008 5:08:26 PM

" Why would Shas continue to prop up a government that cares more about preventing a potential humanitarian crisis among Gaza's population than for ending an existing humanitarian crisis among its own citizens?!"

I think Pink Floyd said it best........

"Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and youre okay.
Money, its a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash."

Posted by: David | Feb 14, 2008 6:08:04 PM

Time for an Orange Revolution. The People must rise and rid themselves of this failed government. One less cuppa on Shenkin and a little more concern for the future.

Posted by: Allan | Feb 14, 2008 6:22:01 PM

How bad is it that when I read this yesterday, the first thought that came to my mind was that I believed the Palestinian negotiator (who said Jerusalem was already being discussed), and didn't for a minute believe my own goverment?

Posted by: dfb1968 | Feb 14, 2008 6:54:46 PM

No, Olmert got rid of Mughniyeh as a distraction!

Posted by: Toronto Yid | Feb 15, 2008 4:04:22 AM

No, Olmert got rid of Mughniyeh as a distraction!

Nah, that was going to happen regardless.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 15, 2008 4:15:56 AM

Might the heightened alert at the norther border necessitated both fewer resources and less attention on Gaza?

Things seem to be heating up. Stay safe.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Feb 15, 2008 7:32:39 AM

Someone on the Efrat chat list posted that Yishai has been bought off with promises that haredi settlements (Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit, and one other) will be exempt from the building permit freeze that Olmert has imposed on all the other settlements. Don't know if this is the reason, but if there are a number of Shas-niks out there, it would stand to reason...

Posted by: Shimshonit | Feb 15, 2008 8:50:06 AM

Confused? Why? It is perfectly simple and clear: he is like all our other politicians more interested in power, prestige and so forth. He's like Barak...ohhhhhh those promises, promises, promises. Your party leader sucks and so does mine and unfortunately so does everyone elses.

Posted by: Yaeli | Feb 17, 2008 1:16:31 PM

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