Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Olmert's Peculiar Indictment

I have known (and liked) Ehud Olmert for nearly 40 years, at first as a reporter using (and being used by) a source, in the way of journalistic friendships--but enjoying warmer relations in recent months, as Olmert found himself forced out of office, lamenting missed opportunities, having second thoughts about the use of military power, and worried about the country's direction under the Netanyahu government. If only for personal reasons, I confess great relief at the verdict exonerating him.

But circumstances that force a sitting prime minister from office are not merely of personal interest, especially (so Olmert has emphasized to me and others) when the prime minister's indictment comes just days after he enters into talks with the American Secretary of State and (through her, with) Mahmud Abbas about far reaching concessions for the creation of a Palestinian state; when the charges are thin and exotic; and the facts that underlie the charges are dredged up by, among other investigators, teams of reporters whose salaries are paid by Sheldon Adelson, an American billionaire supporting Netanyahu's resistance to any such concessions.

This may be just a tragic coincidence. (And I find myself slightly appalled writing this last sentence, since crack-pot conspiracy theorists always write, "This may be just a tragic coincidence" when they are about to write, "But could there not be more to the story?") But could there not be more to the story? Stay tuned.


Potter said...

Reading the Haaretz news article today prior it struck me again that Olmert needed to be ruined politically because he was too interested in genuine compromise. Only he walks away still alive ( though clearly looking like this has taken a physical toll) whereas Rabin was snuffed out. The forces for peace are up against extremely strong forces against it.

I was horrified to hear this story on National Public Radio this morning:

Walls of Palestinian Homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Come Tumbling Down

It begins:
July 10, 2012
Israel has dramatically increased its demolitions of unauthorized Palestinian homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a recent United Nations report.

Shoded Yam said...

Just in case any of you thought I exaggerated in my treatment of Medad, et al. Now all of you know I was right about these bastards from the get go. You know, I've resigned myself to the role of playing canary in the coal mine. What I can't stomach, is hearing my words come out of other peoples mouths 5 years after I uttered them.

Potter said...

The 80% increase in the destruction of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is of a piece with the recent Levy commission report which unilaterally de-legitimizes international law as it is applied to the occupied territories. Israel can legitimately settle and annex. This is the Israeli side partner that Palestinians (and Arabs and all of us everywhere) are looking at.

Doesn't that seem like a recipe for war?

Five years ago Olmert had not yet made his move toward far-reaching compromise with Abbas.

Henry Siegman has been saying for a long time, here in the London Review of Books, August 2007 ( below) that there is and has been no such consensus for a peace deal in Israel, no such agreement coming from those in power in Israel. All the while the claim is that there is no partner on the other side. They get away with it, it gets repeated and believed.

The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam

Y. Ben-David said...

The State Prosecutor's Office is staffed largely by MERETZ and HADASH supporters. Almost all the politicians who they go after are out of the Likud. No mainline supporters of the Oslo Agreements was ever prosecuted, except for Haim Ramon, but they went after him because he was an outspoken opponent of Dorit Beinish. To think that Olmert is the victim of some sort of "right-wing vendetta", or as the Clinton's said during the 1990's when Slick Willy was impeached..." a vast right-wing conspiracy" is absolute nonsense.

Y. Ben-David said...

Ah, yes, Olmert, the "man of peace". The man who brought Israel TWO bloody wars...Lebanon II and Cast Lead (Gaza) which brought us the infamous "Goldstone Report". Yes, Olmert is a man committed to peace.
Olmert is actually a cynical man whose whole goal in his political career was to maximize his power and to line his pockets. He has been all over the political spectrum. Being born into a prominent "Right-wing" Revisionist family, he knew that if he went into politics, the Labor Party wouldn't have him, so he ended up in the Likud party, mouthing "Right-wing" slogans for years that he didn't believe in, in order to get ahead. You don't agree with this? Then how do you explain his friendship with Dr Avishai's, whose views were the polar opposite of those of then-Likud MK Olmert?
Olmert barely got into the Knesset in 2003, near the bottom of the list, squeeking through because he got the support of Moshe Feiglin's supposedly super-Right-wing "Jewish Leadership" group in the Likud, while in 1999 Olmert, as a member of the Likud, openly supported Labor Party leader Ehud Barak for Prime Minster.
Olmert is certainly a master manipulater...he knows how to exploit people like Dr Avishai, who fall for his line. Recall Dr Avishai's meeting with him at a New Year's Party, reported at this blog, when Olmert was under pressure from the commission of inquiry investigated his bungled conduct of the Lebanon II war. He told Dr Avishai of his true conversion to the "peace camp" and how HE would be the one to make peace. He told Dr Avishai this so that Dr Avishai would get his Leftist friends to support him against the political fallout from the Commission of Inquiry. Olmert is indeed a brilliant manipulator.
Olmert is now positioning himself as "The only man who can make peace with Abbas" and that he and Abbas were a hairsbreath away from an agreement, even though Condi Rice and Jackson Diehl both heard Abbas say the "gaps were too wide" and that he couldn't give up implementation of the "Right of Return" of the Palestinian Refugees, which is always going to be the deal killer.
So those of you who want to keep believing in Olmert..good luck . Go on being maninpulated by this non-entity of a politician. I hope he comes back to politics...he will further split the Left.

Potter said...

What makes Olmert more believable IS precisely his background-- just like we knew Rabin CAME TO IT. And Sharon might very well have.

Try to re-write history. Clinton WAS actually impeached by the right wing here. "Vendetta" was Hillary's word... call it what you will it amounts to the same thing ultimately. They hated Clinton and saw this opportunity... and took the whole country through this mishegas just as there are those extremists on the right here again trying to get Obama and "Obamacare". They are out and out sore losers and they are a detriment to this country, wasting the taxpayer's money they say they don't want to give, trying to get our attention. They should suffer this year their biggest defeat yet.

Don't compare.

We are talking about the EVOLUTION of the peace process in Israel- not the past Ben-David. Olmert was getting ever closer than those before. To folks on the Right in your neck of the woods, now more entrenched than ever with the settlements and in their righteousness, unwilling to make a compromise but needing to keep up the scam, they are giving us all the reasons why it is the OTHER side that prevents this..... The curtain should be pulled aside more fully on these shysters.

Y. Ben-David said...

Here is an article by Aaron David Miller about the failure of the Camp David negotiations between Arafat and Barak and how they NEVER really got to the point of being serious about the main issues. Now, remember this is Arafat, who was described byt the 'peace process' mafia as supposedly being the "strong leader who can make concessions in order to reach an agreement". HE COULD NOT MAKE AN AGREEMENT on any terms. Abbas, on the other hand, is much weaker and does not have the credit in the Palestinian street that Arafat has, so he CERTAINLY can not make the concessions needed, particularly on the "Right of Return" of the refugees. Don't forget that now there is a new President in Egypt who is looking to downgrade relations with Israel if not cancel the peace agreement entirely, so how on earth can anyone expect Abbas to now make an agreement when the whole Arab world is moving in the other direction? The fact that Olmert made even more concessions is IRRELEVANT because no matter what Israel offers, IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. The 'peace process' is deader than a doornail, no matter how many fantasies Olmert may entertain people like Dr Avishai with.

Here is the link:


Potter said...

Excuses.... one after another Ben David. The Egyptian desire to downgrade is the consequence of no peace deal yet now it becomes another excuse.

Barak and Arafat were not going to make a deal. Barak was as reluctant as Arafat if you read the accounts.

Arafat was a strong leader but not the one to make a peace.

Barak had no force behind him and was tentative to begin with.

A strong leader does the right thing: that which needs to be done for the good of the people, and damn the consequences, damn the political price.

Rabin paid the price. Olmert paid the price. Netanyahu by those standards is a total coward.

Obama has been a disappointment in this area but perhaps he will have another chance after all your peace is not about our immediate security.

But from this vantage point, I think there will be war by you and more trouble from the Arab countries around you. Israel has always benefited from their chaos but there will come a day when they get their acts together. And when that day comes Israel might just still be an enemy because of this occupation. Israel will have to fight a lot more for the Eretz Yisroel fantasy.

Y. Ben-David said...

You are the one making excuses: "Arafat wasn't the one to make peace, Barak had no force behind him, etc, etc"
If the 'strong' Arafat can't make peace, how can the weak Abbas? He has very little public support. What about HAMAS? You forgot them.
You seem to think I don't want peace. I live in Israel, I recognize how much we need peace. But WANTING is not enough. The Arabs have to want it too, and they don't, at least not at this point.
You seem to think it all hangs on individuals. If the Arabs really wanted peace, their leaders would have the backing to make the necessary concessions. Sadat did make a "one-man's peace" and (1) look what happened to him, and (2) note how the agreement was never popular with the Egyptian public, although I don't know if a large-scale desire to "review" or cancel the agreement means that they want to go back on a war footing.

BTW=regarding Rabin, both his daugther and Moshe Ya'alon, then Deputy Chief of Staff, reported that just before his murder, Rabin was saying that he realized that Oslo was a disaster and that Israel would have to get out of it, but he wouldn't be able to say that publicly until after the upcoming elections. His murder SAVED the Oslo Agreements.

Potter said...

Abbas shows great strength-inner strength. And polls are meaningless. If he had something REAL and just in his hands he would have a following. If he could show mutual compromise, mutual sacrifice and benefit, his poll numbers would change and the people would be with him. I don't look at polls. The man has been leading since Arafat passed. Enough said. The people will be behind him... and HAMAS says they will follow. Next excuse?

You don't say WHY Rabin SUPPOSEDLY thought Olso was a disaster. After all he was assassinated at a rally IN SUPPORT of Oslo. If he did say something to that effect I suppose you think it's for YOUR reasons. So you use this bit of information which would probably have Rabin turning in his grave. Rabin had an enlightened vision. He could only have been mulling Oslo's failures to achieve that end. Again- this is the evolution of the process Siegman calls, and has been calling, a scam. I turn to him in my despondency over what looks like the fate of Israel will be.

If you do want peace Ben-David they are only words you use from what I read here. Anyone can SAY "peace". You don't have the attitude for it, you don't have a clue as to the way.

(By the way, Sadat's crossover to Israel was amazing and symbolic. It was a BIG DEAL. He was the first Arab leader to do so. He could not make COMPREHENSIVE peace between the Arab world and Israel himself and it's ridiculous to judge his brave move on those terms. He was a man that Israel could work with though. This treaty that Egypt now wants to review he signed with Begin.)

You interpret history using it for excuses, excuses excuses. What Sadat showed was one could just cut through all the crap beginning with a gesture of good will.

Why won't Netanyahu FREEZE settlements? Why is he INCREASING them?