Israeli political and military leaders seem to the playing a continuing game of brinksmanship amid increasing calls for their resignation or dismissal. The most publicized ones, including President Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz continue to be bombarded by public criticism, despite their attempts to appear to be conducting “business as usual”.
President Katsav, for example, tries to keep himself before the public eye, including appearances and events such as the recent ceremony memorializing the 11th anniversary of slain P.M. Yitzhak Rabin, despite many calls for him not to do so. One of his accusers in his sexual misconduct and rape allegations, known to the public as “A”, is still photographed regularly with her lawyer on the streets of Tel Aviv. He refuses to consider stepping down, at least for another six months.
Both Defense Minister Peretz, and Army Chief of Staff Halutz (see photo), are both on the receiving end on increasing flak following the deteriorating situation in Gaza, as well as due to the recent resignation of one of Israel’s top Northern Command officers, Brig. General Gal Hirsch. Hirsch specifically resigned his commission as a result of both Halutz’s handling of the war with Hezbollah, as well as his attempts to ‘white-wash’ the entire affair afterwards. Peretz, due to his lack of military competence and his inability to accept this fact, seems to be bombarded from all sides. This ‘bombardment’ is even becoming more intense due to the continuing launching of Kassam rockets by the Palestinians which caused the death and serious injury today of two Sderot residents. Sderot, being Amir Peretz’ home town, has become his “albatross”, even as much or more so as the recent war in Lebanon. Few, if any Sderot residents want to have anything to do with him.
As for the “guy at the top”, P.M. Olmert, with whom the ‘buck’ is supposed to stop, as U.S President Harry Truman used to say, he continues to try to perform the most brinksmanship acts of all. His current trip to the U.S.A., for example, which was not only very badly timed, but which doesn’t appear to be accomplishing anything, only adds insult to injury to his already shaky position; and makes him in line to be part of the increasing ‘domino effect’ which will accelerate rapidly should Chief of Staff Halutz be the next one to step down.
Olmert didn’t waste any time leaving Washington following his short stay there, including his meeting with President Bush; himself in an uncomfortable position following the Democratic Party sweep of both Houses of Congress. A former aspiring U.S. Presidential candidate, billionaire IBM magnate H. Ross Perot used to say that if elected President he would “take a shovel and a broom and clean up Congress”. While this feat may have partially been accomplished in the recent U.S. midterm elections, it hasnâ€™t been done yet in Israeli politics. And with all the recent goings on in Israel’s current government, especially those mentioned above, one wonders when some of this ‘shoveling and broom sweeping’ will take place in Israel as well.
With all that’s currently transpiring, it’s sorely needed.
Photo: The Jerusalem Post