Is anyone in control of this country? Is the entire country one small no-man's-land? Isn't there anyone left who can tell right from left? This much is clear: There is no government. There's no prime minister worthy of the name, no defense minister worthy of the title. The army is running things, and that's how it looks - tedious and out of control.
Israel is now an army state. Military law has taken over once again - this time in the entire country.
The one dubbed prime minister, Ehud Olmert, goes to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The two had planned to discuss advancing the talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Perhaps a summit will be held soon, perhaps at last there will be a prisoner exchange deal and even Gilad Shalit will be released.
And lo, at precisely the same time - not a day earlier or later - IDF soldiers and Shin Bet Secret Service men raid Ramallah, Palestine's temporary capital. What calculated timing, what a perfect coincidence: While you, Olmert, try to get the chestnuts out of the fire, the army will light up such a bonfire that will leave you nothing but burned cinders of chestnuts.
The army will make sure there is a suitable background decor for the meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh - blood, fire and smoke. It will plant an explosive charge right under your padded armchairs. You can count on the IDF and its tricks.
The IDF may be worn out and battered, but the weary often need to prove they can still flex their muscles. The attitude is: We're alive, we still have it, don't write us off. But if the IDF is stunned and swooning, the government is sprawled on the floor, powerless to govern.
With a defeat on the front and corruption rotting the homeland, it is broken and impotent. This is when the army sniffs an opportunity - a time for a commando raid into the political vacuum in Jerusalem. That is the army's legacy.
Only two weeks ago Olmert met Abbas, promising him the earth - removing roadblocks, releasing prisoners for the holiday, etc. And what came out of all this? Nothing. Because the army didn't agree. When the army threatens, Olmert and Peretz, who are themselves frightened shadows, shake like leaves.
Roadblocks were not removed, because the Israel Defense Forces is only prepared for "alleviations." Prisoners were not released, because the Shin Bet also has a say in the matter. At the most, the IDF is willing to put up with more outposts and more mobile homes, because it has no power to evacuate, only to build and beef-up and cover up the settlers' iniquities.
Yesterday we heard a report that Olmert had decided to dismiss Peretz. He must have had time to read opinion polls before leaving for Egypt. The lame man is determined to shake the blind man off his back, or is it the blind man dropping the lame one?
The best thing for the country is for both of them to get out. It's the only way to save it from the jaws of the army and return it to the citizens. If there is a government, let it appear now, then leave immediately and be replaced by another, which is not a passing shadow or a leaf in the wind.
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