Prisoners

I think it’s time to note again Israel’s failure to produce a statesman equal to the challenges it has faced over the past 20 years. In every area of modern life the country boasts a genius that on a per capita basis must be unrivaled. Yet on the world stage its politicians seem almost retarded.
The country has never had a public accounting for the utter disaster that was Oslo. Its politicians seem to keep the country’s citizens in the dark about the nature of its national security strategy and the actions taken to pursue it. Ariel Sharon’s coalition deal to make Shimon Peres his “deputy premier” seemed to me a metaphorical expression of the problem. Symptomatic of the delusional political thinking that has brought Israel so much grief is the fact that there has as yet been no public accounting for the disaster of Oslo itself.
According both to Caroline Glick and Hillel Halkin, Israel now stands on the verge of a sickening prisoner swap that will free scores of Palestinian Arab murderers. Israeli political leaders such as Olmert and Livni and Peretz may seem retarded, but Israel’s people are not stupid. Glick writes:

Since the ignominious cease-fire last August, the public has demanded an accounting from Olmert. At almost every single non-scripted public gathering where Olmert appears, he is hounded by angry citizens who demand he explain how he dared to abandon the field of battle and leave our soldiers behind.
Last September in one such incident, Olmert was confronted by Elipaz Baeloha, whose son Nadav was killed in battle in the war. When Baeloha demanded an accounting, as is his wont, Olmert refused.
Rather than accept the responsibilities of the office to which he stubbornly clings, Olmert deflected Baeloha’s criticism by saying the public is at fault. We are to blame, he explained, because we were stupid enough to believe him when he said he would fight to bring the men home.
As he put it, “From the beginning I knew we would have to negotiate to secure the release of the hostages. To rescue them we would have to pay a very heavy price. How many more children would you want to die like your son died to rescue them? Did anyone seriously think that I would get to some place, which I don’t know where it is, and would try to rescue them?”

Glick’s column reflects bitterly on the predicament in which Israel finds itself today. Glick concludes:

Because of the fecklessness of our leaders, we lost a war we should have won and our hostages, who soldiers like Nadav Baeloha heroically gave their lives to free, have remained in captivity.
As Hizbullah, Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians show daily with their escalating saber-rattling, our leaders’ continued incompetence since the war has brought us ever closer to a new war.
Now, through their cowardly and unnecessary genuflections to our enemies, made under the preening cover of feigned concern for the lives of our hostages they have done nothing to free, Olmert and his associates place the lives of every one of us in danger.

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