Thursday, October 19, 2006

Israel's Olmert becomes pathetic

Israel's PM Ehud Olmert has passed the point of being incompetent and is swiftly becoming pathetic.

In an effort to arrest the downward slide of his term in office, Olmert apparently decided to try deflect criticism by posing as a statesman and diplomat.

Earlier this week, his first gesture was towards Lebanese PM Faoud Siniora, proposing peace talks between Israel and Lebanon. Olmert, at the winter Knesset session said "I wish to use this podium to call upon the prime minister of Lebanon, Faoud Siniora, to meet with me directly, not through mediators, in order to make peace between us and Lebanon... Israel can be a natural and serious partner to a peace-seeking government in Lebanon."

Siniora wasted no time in telling Olmert to go pound sand. After referring to the Saudi Beirut peace plan as the only thing Lebanon might accept as part of the Arab league, Siniora pointedly reminded Olmert that he had "already said more than once that Lebanon will be the last Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel."

For Olmert not to realize that Siniora, even if he wanted to approach Israel for direct talks is being held on a very short leash by Hezbollah and Syria is beyond clueless.

Even worse was Olmert's diplomatic foray into Russia to confer with Putin. Appearing next to the austere, tightlipped and icy cold ex-KGB commander, Olmert came across like the class nerd trying to be overly friendly and chummy with the class bully. Olmert even tried to make a feeble joke about Israel tying Russia in the 2008 Euro cup fooball (soccer) icy silence.

Worse than that was what happened behind the scenes, when Olmert literally begged Putin to use his influence to help curtail Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Essentially, Putin told Olmert that as far as he was concerned, there was no threat to Israel.

This was underlined during Olmert's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said yesterday after their meeting that, "Reports from Iran do not indicate a real threat to peace and security."

Meanwhile, the Soviets are not only building nuclear facilities and selling sophisticated weapons to Iran and Syria, but to the entire Arab world including Kuwait, Qatar and the Muslim nations of Asia. None of these governments would have any second thoughts about passing on Russian purchases, know how and technology to Hezbollah or Hamas.

And aside from the Soviet technicians in Iran, Russia actually has its troops - mainly Chechen Muslims - on Israel's Lebanese border as part of UNIFIL!

Putin made no bones about Russia's policies as long ago as when he visited Israel in April 2005, the first Russian president to do so. He's perfectly willing to maintain `relations' with Israel, as long as it's convenient..and as long as Israel doesn't attempt to interfere with Moscow'’s ambitions in the region or its ties and multi-billion dollar arms sales to Iran, the Arab states and the Palestinians.

Russia still hates Israel because the Jewish State single handedly threw the Russians out of the Middle East during the Cold War..the beginning of the end for the Soviet empire.

For Olmert to attempt to talk Putin into curtailing all this just because its an existential threat to Israel was worse than was pathetic. It was the equivalent of the shepard asking a hungry wolf to pretty please drop that sheep from its jaws.

Olmert, when asked later whether he was disappointed by Putin's silence on this, said there were different levels of discussions on Iran, and that not everything said privately was said in public.

After all, how much spin can you put on the simple word `nyet'?

Coupled with the recent actions of the Bush Administration and the EU, it's quite obvious that Israel may be becoming `inconvenient'...and therefore, expendable to the `world community', something that is directly related to the perceived weakness and incompetence of the present government.

From Putin's point of view, it's understandable. From the point of view of the West, it is sheer self deception and weakness, on a par with Munich in 1938. And from the point of view of the Israeli people, it's a clear sign that they had better wake up quickly and put together some effective leadership, if they want to have a fighting chance for their country to survive.

It's all too easy to imagine Olmert, Livni and Peretz signing away Israel's security `for peace in our time.'

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