12 July 2008

Israel News Analysis - The Winograd Report Hits the Fan


Author's Note: It is now 12 July, 2008. The Winograd Report has been successfully watered down and Ehud Olmert was spared the spearing he deserved in it. But his corruption appears to be catching up with him at last. As for the scenarios outlined at the end of this article, Shim'on Peres is now State President, and has fancy parties, welcoming all sorts of foreign dignitaries here. But he plays a behind the scenes role as a foreign minister type, and I believe he is behind the present investigations that have blackened Ehud Olmert's name and made Olmert's future as a leader problematic In addition, it should be noted that the surrender of the Heights of Golan, parts of Jerusalem and almost all of Judea and Samaria to the Arab enemy are all very much on the table..

Published 03 May, 2007 at Blogcritics Magazine
Ma'ale Levona, Israel

May Day! May Day!

That has been the cry going out from the "prime minister" Ehud Olmert and "security minister" Amir Peretz, the Two Stooges whose goose was cooked when the Winograd Report hit the fan during the evening hours of 30 April. The Third Stooge, former IDF "chief of staff" Dan Halutz, had already been sacked and is now hiding out at Harvard in the groves of academe. Various press reports have talked about how scathing the report was etc., etc., and of the "political earthquake" that hit Israel.

Gimme a break!

From hundreds of anecdotal reports, Israeli soldiers were sent forth without adequate supplies to engage the enemy in the north, HizbAllah, attacking them along the line of expectation, the precise path that HizbAllah expected to be attacked.

Woo hoo! Way to go, retard!

The sins of Olmert and crew have already been hashed over hundreds of times since last July, when the fool brazenly bragged about recovering hostages "kidnapped" by HizbAllah in the north and Hamas in the south - and then refused to follow even a reasonable strategy to do so. Everyone has been calling for the idiots' heads since being sent home from the north with reservists leaving huge signs at the edge of Jerusalem - "Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes! Quit and Go Home!"

When the Katyusha rockets began hitting the northern third of Israel last July 12th, the government and administration ran away, leaving the citizenry to fend for themselves. The government has not even transferred to the "responsible authorities," the idiots who ran away, the millions of shekels needed to enable the recovery of the northern part of the country. Today, there is a general strike in the north to protest that fact.

All the Winograd Report has done has been to put the obvious into official language that not even the pretentiously magisterial Olmert, or the "little captain" Peretz, can deny.

Getting Around the Rule of Law

Let's do a little analysis of all this, remembering these points. Olmert, who was the Vice Prime Minister when Ariel Sharon had his major stroke early in 2006, was kept in office by a subterfuge of the law. Ariel Sharon did in fact die in Hadassah, as David Bedein reported. But he was dragged back from the dead, and stuck on life support machines for political reasons.

According to Israeli law, had Sharon been declared dead, the head of the political party he headed when he became prime minister in 2003 would have succeeded to the position of interim prime minister, and new elections would have been called. The head of the political party that Sharon headed upon accession to the prime minister's office in 2003 was the head of the Likud party, Benyamin Netanyahu.

By declaring the prime minister "impaired," Attorney General Menahem Mazuz avoided the possibility of Netanyahu becoming prime minister and thus allowed Ehud Olmert, and Sharon's fake political creation that Olmert now headed, "Kadima," to continue in office and attempt to form a government if it won a sufficient number of seats in the elections.

So an operation was done upon a corpse, and reports came out regularly about Ariel Sharon's condition to maintain the fiction that he was the sitting prime minister, while Ehud Olmert ran for office while sitting in the prime minister's chair. Now that Olmert has been in office for a year and half, Sharon has been airbrushed out of the political photos. Scarcely a word is said about the corpse body of a man hooked up to life support machines.


Way back in 2004, Sharon, after declaring his intent to pull out of Gush Katif, offered to hold a referendum within the Likud party to allow the members of the Likud, whom he represented, to decide on pulling out. It appeared at first that he would actually follow the desire of the voters, his own supporters, in the matter. In the end, he lost the referendum, and declared that he would go ahead with a withdrawal anyway. But, deferring to the voters of his party, he would only order a withdrawal from a few of the 24 towns and villages in Gush Katif. A report harshly critical of this referndum and of Israel's presence in Gaza noted the following:

Predictions from within Likud are that he will now offer only a partial withdrawal from the Gaza Strip of only those of the 21 settlements “most exposed” to violence. The occupation of the Gaza Strip would be essentially unchanged.
Enter Menny Mazuz. The attorney general declared that Sharon had to pull out of the entire bloc of Gush Katif as he said he would. What power did Mazuz, whose position as attorney general did not qualify him to try to make security policy? Mazuz had possible indictments sitting in his drawer - indictments of Ariel Sharon and his son Omri to begin with, for various kind of fraud, campaign violations, and the like.

Mazuz, who had been a protegé of Yossi Beilin, a staunch advocate of withdrawal from Gaza, Judea and Samaria, was merely following "his" party line, and using the indictments in the drawer as his weapon.

By 6 May 2004, Mr. Sharon, picking up the hint, returned to the line of pulling out of Gush Katif entirely, and stonewalled his way through the entire effort. And what was the central plank of the "Kadima" party that Sharon founded in 2005 after the withdrawal from Gush Katif? Withdrawal from all of Judea and Samaria, unilaterally, if need be! This was the policy known as "convergence".

The loss in Lebanon basically did in that policy. Oh, Olmert will pretend to support it, and his foreign minister Tzipi Livni will talk about a "Palestinian state" and all that trash - but the people of Israel are not willing to buy that bill of goods any more. But if a knight on a white horse comes to the nation's rescue...

Knight on a White Horse

So we see Olmert facing the desertion of his coalition as Kadima minister after Kadima minister tries to figure out a way to replace Olmert without facing the danger of new elections. Labor Minister Eitan Cabel quit the government urging his fellow ministers from the Labor party to do likewise, including Mr. Peretz; the chief of the coalition quit, calling upon Olmert to do likewise, Tzipi Livni has already tried a putsch within the Kadima party - and failed. If you examine this page listing articles in Haaretz, you'll see one major name in Israeli politics absent.

Shim'on Peres.

Deputy Prime Minister Shim'on Peres has been the eminence grise in this government, the fellow who knows where all the bodies are buried (literally). While Olmert has publicly faltered, Peres had remained quiet awaiting the release of the interim report of the Winograd Committee to confirm the incompetence of Mr. Olmert, his security minister and former chief of staff. But Peres moves carefully, and has been campaigning quietly to oust Olmert and take the position himself. A Stratfor analysis dismisses him as a possible replacement for Olmert, arguing that the situation calls for someone strong in security, rather than diplomacy. That would rule out Tzipi Livni, who appears to enjoy the support of the Hebrew press.

Let's take another look at Peres, then. It can be fatal to under-estimate him. While he was never a general in the army, he has credentials that make him very strong in the area of security. He initiated atomic energy research in the 1950s in Israel and in the 1970's he was instrumental in Israel's "acquiring" nuclear material for its clutch of nuclear missiles. In 1976, he orchestrated the rescue of 100 Israeli hostages from Uganda, the daring operation at the Entebbe airport that killed Yoni Netanyahu and brought his brother Benyamin into the political limelight.

In addition, Peres has a resource that virtually none of his contemporaries, friend or foe, has - a solid Jesuit education. The Jesuits are famous for their ability to teach strategic thinking, and Peres learned at their knee. Keeping this in mind, let us look at three possible scenarios for the medium future.

1. One is that Olmert is driven from office and is succeeded by Peres, who promises to bring a fresh approach and to save the Kadima party from its natural fate - extinction. But there is a corollary to this scenario, one that I've examined before. This is that Katzav is also driven from office in one way or another, and that Peres steps forth as the deGaulle of the country, seeking to combine the posts of state president and prime minister and end the instability of the country's political system. This is the "knight on a white horse scenario." Given that there is virtually nobody else to run the country who has any level of competence (with a couple of execeptions), the Israeli "maiden" kisses this knight whom she has spurned so many times before.

2. The second is that Olmert is driven from office and that either Tzipi Livni or Avi Dichter takes his place. Katzav is driven from office in one way or another, and is replaced by Peres as state president. Because of Peres' ties overseas, he exercises considerable behind the scenes influence, far greater than his office warrants, and he seems again to be a "knight on a white horse", serving as mentor for the younger cabinet members and being invited to sit in on their meetings.

3. The final scenario is that Olmert is able to hold onto the "seat" of prime minister" but is forced to accede to rule by others - like his deputy prime minister, Peres.

What do all three scenarios have in common?

The European Union, with some help from NATO, will be invited in to "expedite" the "peace process" - that is to say drive out Jews from their homes in Judea, Samaria, the Heights of the Golan, and very possibly parts of Jerusalem itself.

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