Two articles, one by Allison Kaplan Sommer and Lisa Goldman at Pajamas Media and the other by Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post, underscore the exorbitant price that Olmert is now willing to pay for a handful of international legitimacy. It's a telling reminder of just how well the campaign to marginalize what a French ambassador called a "shitty little country" has fared. To gain but a little diplomatic leverage Israel must now mortgage its future.
Caroline describes the unilateral concessions that Olmert has made to Hamas; concessions to deep that even the State Department and the UN are aghast.
Israel's decision to embrace Hamas is so outrageous that even the US State Department apparently hasn't had a chance to get its bearings. Reacting to the news on Wednesday, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said, "Saying you've got a loaded gun to my head but you're not going to fire today is far different from taking the gun down, locking it up, and saying you're not going to use it again." The agreement "hardly takes Hamas out of the terrorism business," Casey added.
The "cease-fire" with Hamas also has direct implications for Judea and Samaria. If Hamas holds its fire for six months, then Israel will be obliged to end its counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria. That is, if Hamas keeps its powder dry until January, Israel will effectively enable it to assert its control over Judea and Samaria and so place Iran in control of the outskirts of Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Afula and Netanya.
If the US was aghast at the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government's capitulation to Hamas, UN officials are aghast at its second asset drop. This week the government conducted its second round of negotiations toward the surrender of the Golan Heights to Syria. Speaking of the surrender talks to a group of Israeli diplomats, Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, condemned the move, arguing just by holding the negotiations, "Israel has given Syria a huge gift, without thus far receiving anything in exchange."
Giving its enemies gifts without receiving recompense was exactly what Olmert hoped to achieve. The perverted logic behind this strategy is ably explained by Allison Kaplan Sommer.
No one knows exactly when the ceasefire will be violated - whether it is a matter of days, weeks, or months: when the first missile will crack the silence and represent the opening gun to what is expected to be a major military operation in Gaza. The pessimism is based on bitter experience - the Palestinian record on honoring ceasefire agreements is poor, to put it mildly.
So if no one believes it will last, why bother? The overriding reasoning of the Israeli leaders behind the agreement to it is to show that their side everything possible has done to avoid bloodshed - so that when the war in Gaza - which is viewed as inevitable, occurs - the world will know that Israel did all it could.
That, in all its pathetic absurdity, is all that Olmert hopes to purchase at the certain cost of Israeli blood: a baring of the neck to the dagger so that when the "inevitable, occurs - the world will know that Israel did all it could". It's what the Peace Lobby calls 'confidence building'. But the confidence it builds is entirely of the wrong sort. Caroline Glick describes the almost gloating tone in which these pitiful offerings have been received by countries as distant as Iran.
No doubt buoyed by the government's strategic incapacitation, Iran mockingly told the Europeans that it will be happy to consider their European-American offer to build Iran nuclear reactors and normalize relations with it - so long as it is understood that they will accept their largesse while continuing their uranium enrichment activities.
Ironically, even the Peace Lobby is probably convinced that Israel's abject concessions are only likely to increase the likelihood of war. In fact the entire point of its abjection is to eke out whatever sympathy the International Community may deign to give at the moment the thundering freight train of Mars hits Israel. And yet the fact that surrender will increase the perils of war cannot undo the Pavlovian reflex to grovel and grovel yet again.
But in this last, Olmert will have probably have miscalculated . He will get weakness and he will reap war, but Israel will get no sympathy. Sympathy in this hard world is another word for admiration; sympathy was what European diplomats felt when Israel's armies defeated the combined Arab armies in 1967. Then the shitty little country wasn't so shitty. Besides, they bought Mirage fighters from the French and that always counts for something. Today what retreat and capitulation will bring from the capitals of the Old World is contempt.
There is always the danger, when electing appeasers into office, of assuming that when they go too far and overstep, the public will rise up and regain their senses. But that is to forget that each concession they provide the foe increases the cost of recovery until finally sheer hopelessness overcomes indignation. The familiar drama of Britain's recovery from the blunders of Munich often makes us forget that had Britain not been rescued by the America and Hitler's foolish attack into Russia, not even their Finest Hour could have save them from the blessings of Peace In Our Time.
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