PM Ehud Olmert knows his time in office is coming to a close. He knows he doesn’t have a political backing to push forward any peace accord with the Palestinians. He knows he could end up in jail, or alternatively merely end up as the most-corrupted Israeli PM (to date) in tomorrow’s history books. This is a desperate period for Mr. Olmert, and he’s got nothing to lose.
In recent years, the Israeli media is steadily growing more and more cynical. Leading commentators (both on air and in print) have become accustomed to label practically any move by Israeli politicians as a “spin” — i.e., a statesman’s attempt to distract the public attention from his wrongdoings by generating an alternative “buzz”. As a result, the Israeli public now takes the regular use of “spinology” for granted. We’ve become indifferent, and many of us won’t bother to even cast our vote next time.
Yesterday it was published that Olmert’s delegates and Abu Alaa (the head of the Palestinian negotiation team) have begun to formulate a draft of the basic agreements made by both sides regarding the minor issues of the peace process. There is yet no discussion regarding the core issues, such as Jerusalem and the permanent borders. Nevertheless, many politicians, such as Avigdor Liberman, were quick to point out that this draft is meaningless, and wouldn’t gain the Knesset’s support. Most Israeli people clearly see this as a “spin” — But if so, why do the Palestinians play along… Abu Mazen certainly has his own reasons to spin the Palestinian public opinion.
If this wasn’t enough, Olmert made sure to issue a second spin: He offered Abu Mazen to send the IDF back into the Gaza Strip in order to conquer it again(!!) and remove the Hamas militants, who carried out a military coup against Abu Mazen’s Fatah movement exactly a year ago. Accepting such a move would obviously be a political suicide for Abu Mazen, and it has the potential of igniting an all-out civil war among the Palestinians. Olmert’s completely aware of this, of course, and still he suggested this outrageous offer — maybe as an attempt to court his right-wing opponents.
Nevertheless, Olmert wasn’t the first spin-doctor in modern history, nor will he be the last. For example, still another outrageous public statement made yesterday (that’s already three in one Shabbat) belongs to the Minister of Transportation, and former IDF Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz. He told the media that Israel will have no choice but to carry out a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Besides this statement being strategically stupid and diplomatically harmful, it was issued as if Mofaz’s opinion is the official Israeli stance. Could it be that both Olmert and Mofaz play “who has the biggest balls”?
Are we too cynical? Do our political representatives genuinely only care about their own survival? I’d like to think we live in a true democracy and not in a Spinacray… but in the meantime, I might just turn off the news and watch the Euro Cup.
Picture by Galatz