Outgoing P.M. Ehud Olmert is telling a leading Israeli paper that Israel has to withdraw from almost the entire Occupied Territories if it wants to save itself from the crisis it is now in. From the Times' Ethan Bronner, this morning:
“What I am saying to you now has not been said by any Israeli leader
before me,” Mr. Olmert told Yediot Aharonot newspaper in the interview
to mark the Jewish new year.. “The time has come to say these things.”
traditional Israeli defense strategists had learned nothing from past
experiences and seemed stuck in the considerations of the 1948
Independence War. “With them, it is all about tanks and land
and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop
and that hilltop,” he said. “All these things are worthless.” [Ravishing]
a senior Palestinian official, told Palestinian Radio that it would
have been better if Mr. Olmert had taken this position while in office
rather than while leaving it and that Mr. Olmert had not yet presented
a detailed plan for a border between Israel and a Palestinian state.
Two comments: The idea that the generals control Israeli policy is familiar to the left wing, and is the theme of Michael Desch's great chapter on Israel in his new book Power and Military Effectiviness. You think it's a democracy re military policy, it's not. A clutch of generals runs the show. Sharon wanted the Big Plan for Lebanon when the government said it wanted the Little Plan. Who won that policy decision?
Second, per Rabbo, why is it that Israeli Prime Ministers and American Presidents only get around to the truth about Israel/Palestine at the end of their presidencies? Because our politics are broken by the lobby here and theirs by the structural weaknesses of their democracy, and probably by the lobby too. Who knows. There's complete corruption of the discourse and no one can even say the word, Jerusalem, there or here. And look at the achievement here of the CFR, Brookings, Yivo, the New York Times, the New Yorker: minimal intellectual leadership (at least Remnick and Bronner are ringing the alarm clock).