The Trap

Three bankrupts have gathered to make a deal.

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Prof. MK Arieh Eldad

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Three bankrupts have gathered to make a deal. One has nothing to sell, one has nothing to pay with, and the middleman ostensibly charged with executing the deal is about to lose his job and has less and less power. A deal like this, which is all deceit and illusion, is usually a matter for a newspaper's crime pages. One should let the police interrogate the participants in order to discover why the fraud is taking place: Maybe it is a sting operation, or maybe it is a decoy to divert attention from the participants' real profits, which stem not from this impossible deal, but rather from other, no less corrupt sources.

They are negotiating a "permanent solution," as if the country is theirs.

The talks between Ehud Olmert and Abu Mazen are taking place under the guidance of President George Bush, whose term will soon be drawing to a close and who is unable to exert his influence on his own country's Congress. Olmert is a prime minister with no public behind him, who is corrupt and a failure. His continuing in office depends on the legal stalling tactics he is using against the Winograd Commission, which is supposed to determine his fate, and also on the insufferable slowness of the Israeli justice system, which is dealing with his other criminal cases.
 
Abu Mazen is an elected "president" who remains in office thanks to the presence of the Israeli army in Judea and Samaria; someone who is unable to protect even his own office in Gaza, although his soldier outnumbered Hamas' soldiers ten to one. No decision of this "president" will be honored by Hamas and his own "Prime Minister" Salam Fayyad has proclaimed that the Authority he represents cannot accept any security responsibility for the large cities in Judea and Samaria that he is supposed to govern.

Nonetheless, they are negotiating a "permanent solution," as if the country is theirs and the power in their hands. One is making commitments to give the Arabs the heart of the country for them to establish a state, while he knows - and all of us know - that its fate will immediately be that of Gaza, with Hamas taking over and turning it into a giant launching pad; all the cities in the center of Israel will become targets for its rockets. Olmert is following Ariel Sharon's path, except that he's carrying a bigger criminal file; but he also hopes to give away land belonging to the people of Israel in order to remain in office another year. Though Olmert knows that Abu Mazen cannot deliver any sort of peace to Israel, he is promising him territory.

Abu Mazen, who is not being asked to pay any price, has turned his impotence into
Abu Mazen... has turned his impotence into bankable currency.
bankable currency. No one can complain to him that he doesn't meet his obligations, for he has already proclaimed that he cannot meet them. If the bankrupt person with whom he is negotiating is still willing to give him everything in return for nothing, then apparently that person's political survival is compensation enough for the heart of the country. And what else can Abu Mazen give Olmert? Abu Mazen can drape the pretense of "mutual agreement" over Olmert's unilateral withdrawal.

According to opinion polls, over 70% of Israelis are strongly opposed to any additional unilateral concessions in Judea and Samaria. And so, Olmert is trying to wrap his unacceptable "convergence" or "disengagement" with a rag of a paper entitled "Agreement of Understanding." Olmert is sure he can fool the people and he may well be right.

Our ears perceive the silence, and the silence is testimony: no one is rising to scream against the accord being formulated by the bankrupt three. The silence has enveloped the Likud, the National Union, Israel Beiteinu and non-parliamentary organizations. The entire nationalist and formerly nationalist camp sees how Olmert is walking Israel into this trap with open eyes, and yet they themselves are napping.

This is a trap, for the Israeli prime minister's signature will bind the arms and legs of the country in the future. A real leader would be necessary in order to break free from this trap. Benjamin Netanyahu, silent as a stone and doing nothing to prevent these moves, is not such a leader. He gave Hebron to the Arabs when he could have shaken free from the Oslo Accords, given that the Arabs had violated the terms of those accords. By his
Olmert is sure he can fool the people and he may well be right.
silence today, he also loses the moral authority to oppose this plan tomorrow.
 
And the same goes for Avigdor Lieberman, who is serving as a member of the government and allowing the corrupt and failing prime minister to continue unimpeded with his tricks. Lieberman will be a full partner to this crime even should he quit the government on the eve of the signing of an accord, just as Netanyahu was partner to the crime of the disengagement from Gaza though he quit when it was already too late.

There's only one escape from this trap: immediately toppling the Olmert government and holding new elections. Only someone who leads such a move can then claim the mantle of leadership in Israel.




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