Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may just as well watch one of the sports channels tomorrow evening, instead of the results from the Labor primary, and spare himself the slip-ups of the pollsters and the prattling of the commentators. Labor is not going anywhere in the next few months.
Now everybody is waiting for the Winograd Committee, which Olmert had to appoint following the Second Lebanon War, to finish its work. And if the police handle their investigations into Olmert's affairs in the same manner in which Labor handles its ministers' portfolios, then the prime minister will really have nothing to worry about.
So what if Ami Ayalon and Ehud Barak both promised that the day the Winograd Report is released will be Olmert's last day in office? In Labor, those who lay down the law are Minister Shalom Simhon's constituents from the moshavim, Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer's Arab voters and Amir Peretz's troops from Labor Central Committee. The latter are no more eager to transfer the pleasures of government over to Likud than Olmert is itching to hand over the keys to his chambers to Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu.
Barak's faction inside Labor construed their leader's commitment to dissociate himself from Olmert as applicable only if the Winograd Committee outspokenly demands the prime minister's resignation. The common assumption is that should Olmert flout the committee's calls and declare war on its head, retired judge Eliyahu Winograd - as he has done with State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss - then it will be his colleagues in Kadima's leadership who will show him the door.
As they demonstrated after the departure of Ariel Sharon from the political scene, that assortment of people who call themselves a political party will find a way to elect themselves a new leader, in this case their third in less than two years. Labor will accept the verdict of its partner, and that will be the end of the Second Lebanon War and its curses.
Things would be even simpler if Judge Winograd decides only to reprimand Olmert for his performance during the war. Labor's petty politicians will join their Kadima counterparts, who will explain that since the committee made no conclusions pertaining to the performance of individual figures, there is no reason to "bring out the guillotines," as Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog commented after the release of the committee's interim report.
After all, each and every member of the cabinet - including Ophir Pines-Paz and Eitan Cabel who resigned their ministerial positions - received the scarlet letter for their performance in the war.
In many countries, politicians would be ashamed to show their faces after receiving softer reprimands than the ones appearing in the interim Winograd report ("The entire government and each of its members made a hasty decision to go into war. They did not receive analyses and data that would clarify for them the anticipated consequences of their decisions. In deciding on an immediate and harsh military response, the government and all of its members failed to exercise the required discretion, caution and responsibility" - from page 124 of the interim Winograd report).
Yet, the gravest omission of Labor and its supporters was not their contribution to the failures of last year's war. The party that led to negotiations with the Palestinians and prepared the ground for peace with Syria and Lebanon, is now aligning itself with a policy that threatens to shatter the two-state-solution and precipitate another war in the North.
The group of ministers who are dictating Labor's (lack of) policy for achieving peace has anointed a man who subscribes to view of "there's no partner." It's the same policy that led to the unilateral pullout from Lebanon and invited Hezbollah to settle on the border. It also dictated the unilateral disengagement from Gaza, which brought the Qassam rockets closer to Sderot.
The only words uttered to the media during the campaign from the mouth of the favored candidate of the Labor ministers, Ehud Barak, were, "Whom do you want as defense minister in the next war?" Barak did not ask, "Which leader do you want to prevent the next war?" He never offered a political solution for preventing a third intifada, nor did he utter a line of protest about the government's evasive tactics, aimed at preventing the renewal of peace talks with Syria.
Barak and his associates opt to leave such conundrums for Ami Ayalon and the rest of the "lefties," who promise to try out the Arab peace initiative and resurrect the Israeli-Palestinian peace lobby. Ignominiously enough, they too have begun to align themselves with the opportunists.
Labor's tough choices will begin after the conclusion of the second primary round tomorrow night. Its members will have to decide whether they prefer to use the Winograd Report to learn how to prepare the gear for the troops and have television sets installed in the shelters, or to learn how to find a political option. If they choose the latter path, then we should all be able to watch our televisions in the living room.
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