Thursday, July 13, 2006

Israel's home front is now under attack in both the south and the north. When we pulled out of Lebanon in 2000 and out of Gaza in 2005, all the necessary platitudes were uttered by politicians who were just cutting and running. "Let them fire just one rocket and we'll send them back to the stone age bla bla bla." The worst kind of lie is one that is easily tested (avidi lehisbarer). In both Gaza and Lebanon, the lie was exposed early and often and we are now paying the price with blood flowing from Ashkelon to Tsfat.

But the problem is considerably more severe than that. We now face the need for a major ground battle that will be potentially costly in Israeli lives. And we need to head off to battle behind a prime minister who is almost universally perceived as a small-time political opportunist with no coherent policies, a defense minister who is indecisive and inexperienced (I'm being diplomatic: what I mean is he's a buffoon) and a chief of staff who is a callous political operator. All three talk way too much and do way too little.

What will happen now? Israel's offensive is unlikely to hit high gear until at least one of these three goes. It will almost certainly be Peretz. Moving him will probably require a major reshuffle of the government. This, in turn, will depend on Olmert finally getting the message that realignment isn't in the cards. Olmert is a stubborn SOB and a heavy price will need to be paid before he gets it. But when he finally does, Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Ichud Leumi will join the government and Peretz will take Labor out in a fit of pique.

All that is inevitable. If I might speculate a bit, once Olmert heads a right-wing government, all the dirt on him (and there's lots of it) will suddenly emerge in the press. He'll then have to do something grandiose to both shift attention and render political instability undesirable. Maybe something to do with Iran?


Blogger Joe Settler said...

He'll then have to do something grandiose to both shift attention and render political instability undesirable. Maybe something to do with Iran?

Or maybe something to do with Realignment.

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Manhattan said...

Assuming you're correct about the right entering the government, who do you think would be a likely candidate to replace Peretz as Defense Minister?
And maybe I'm getting a distorted picture from my side of the pond, but the offensive looks to be kicking into a pretty high gear already (not that it shouldn't go higher).

2:47 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Realignment should be dead and buried by then especially with a right-wing government.

Dr. M,
If it stays in Kadima, probably Avi Dichter. If it becomes a topic for inter-party negotiation, there's no telling.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Dr. M,
"High gear" means entry on the ground. Unfortunately, Hizballah has been preparing for precisely that for the past six years.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

I have to disagree with you there on the fact that disengagement will be buried. Even though the "lie" is "avidi lehitbarer", the fact remains that retreat/withdrawal/negotiations had already been EMPIRICALLY proven over and over again to leave us worse off and increase the death toll. While I can see how public relations experts and slick politicians can "fool" the electorate into thinking they have a "new" solution, the fact remains that there were rational, intelligent - even genius - people in think tanks and yeshivot that supported these policies in various different ways. Piskei Din were issued claiming that these policies had the potential to save lives - when it had already been empirically proven (kvar hisbarer) that they would instead turn Israel into the valley of the shadow of death. So why should we necessarily think that the politicians/think-tank experts/roshei yeshiva/journalists that supported these policies for various reasons will now take their "failure" as having been "proven"?
{Naturally some of this is bit rhetorical as the roshei yeshiva as well as "academia" and the media have shifted their position in any event from "Pikuach Nefesh" calculations to "the authority of the memshal", so questions of life and death have been rendered moot from this perspective.}

3:12 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Popular sentiment does shift from time to time, as it did, for example, against Oslo. Politicians have keen ears for this sort of thing. Yes, the ideologues are incorrigible but let's not attribute more power to them than they have (which is too much).

3:22 PM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

Ben - I tend to agree with you there, but the interesting thing that struck me about the disengagement plan was how people that had clearly been in the anti-Oslo camp came out in support of it. Neo-conservatives such as Kristol, journalists such as Krauthammer, think tanks such as Shalem Center (as well as various Yeshivot in the guise of opposing insubordination - they effectively supported the plan}. They all "trusted" Sharon.

This leads me to believe that once all of the current action dies down, a new "big daddy" bitchonist will be presented to the public as the "savior", and the "re-alignment" will be "re-packaged" as something else and then sold to the public. An election "defeat" of the left and a "right-wing" government may even help the cause - as it has done at least twice since Oslo. This is the way things have gone down in Israel since 1992

10:59 AM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

I agree with Ben Bayit..I don't believe that the main-line post-Zionist camp which controls Israel will wake up after this. Ari Shavit wrote last week that Israel has tried 3 approaches to dealing with the Arabs and they have all failed..(1) Conquest after 1967 and settlement (2) Oslo peace agreements (3) Uniliateral withdrawal. (I maintain that no. 1 would have worked if the people of Israel had united behind it, and it still may happen). So Shavit says we need no. 4 What is no.4 ?
My view is that the mainline post-Zionist camp will eventually propose dismantling the state--something like NATO or the UN sending foreign forces, Balkans style- to "separate the sides", appointing governors over the Jewish and Arabs populations of Palestine/Israel, disarming ZAHAL of its heavy weaponry, etc. BTW-Beilin's Geneva Aggrement calls for foreign forces to come in, so this is not a new idea. I believe the Sitra Ahra will push the self-hating/defeatist Jews to adopt this as the last hope, after our current Prime Minister said himself that Israel is tired of fighting. Only when the post-Zionists push their defeatism and Jewish self-hatred to the ultimate limit of dismantling the state will the people really be forced to choose what they want.

12:47 PM  

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