Sunday, May 2, 2010

Olmert's word

The opponents of peace had found a new compelling argument: Olmert's Generous Offers, which replaced Barak's Generous Offers. Ben Dror Yemini, once a stalwart of the Israeli left who had crossed over to the ranks of the extreme right, summed it up in his Ma'ariv column last week. In his time as Prime Minister of Israel, Olmert had proposed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to give up no less than 97% of the West Bank – and Abbas rejected this generous offer. The conclusion is clear - the Palestinians do not want peace, we have no partner, the Palestinians are to blame for the continuing occupation and have brought upon themselves all the oppression and suffering they go through. Anyone who dares to say otherwise is an anti-Semite or just a traitor.

But what did Olmert truly offer? Which part of the territory was he really ready to give up? Were there some sort of conditional clauses and specified conditions added in fine print, which had the effect of nullifying what was supposedly offered? (There had been more than one such instance, in earlier cases of Israeli diplomacy towards the Palestinians). According to what was published, Ehud Olmert briefly showed Mahmoud Abbas a document and immediately snatched it back, unwilling to let the Palestinians lay their hands on it and examine it in depth. But there had been generous offers. Certainly there were. Just take Ehud Olmert's word for it.

Ehud Olmert's word? Currently, the standing of Ehud Olmert's word has taken something of a dive. At the court in Jerusalem judicial proceedings have started in several indictments against him, and the State Prosecution definitely does not take Ehud Olmert's word that he is completely innocent. And now, as every newspaper reader knows in this country, the police are energetically looking for evidence and witnesses to implicate Olmert in a much graver affair yet, which had been dubbed "the worst corruption scandal in the country's history."

When needed in order to pummel the Palestinians, Ehud Olmert's word is still good.