Ehud Barak fled again, a moment before being kicked out, but this time it's for the best. The three Labor ministers who quit - Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Isaac Herzog and Avishay Braverman - waited too long and were finally pushed out. Barak served them his revenge cold.
"Barak's resignation was conducted like a covert commando operation," a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu observed yesterday. If only the defense minister and Netanyahu had planned the interception of the Turkish flotilla this way.
What a lovely conspiracy. It was intended to be sealed in Ehud Olmert's days and has only now been completed with a handshake. The "villa in the jungle," as Barak once described Israel, will entrench itself even more deeply in the previous wars' foxholes and in anticipation of the next war. They're leaving "to continue the peace process," (Barak said). The truth is, they're leaving to freeze it in its present state.
Not every day is the fate of a historic party sealed. Is it also a sad day? Not necessarily. Labor died long ago. Yesterday it only received its death certificate. Cause of death - loss of will to live. In its death, it donated its body to state science. The likes of this have not been seen in Israel or the democratic world. Yesterday, years overdue, Labor's funeral was held. Few accompanied it to its final resting place.
An interviewer asked if my heart didn't feel a twinge over the collapse. My heart was broken 26 years ago, and a broken heart cannot feel a stab. Don't cry for Labor - its old age shamed its youth and its founding fathers. It neither remembered whence it came nor knew whither it was going, and had ceased to offer itself or its supporters any account. Totally sclerotic, it was simply waiting to be put out of its misery. President Shimon Peres, addicted to power, took the first step, giving Barak the nod to finish it off.
Maybe a new Labor movement must be born, provided it grows in the empty space to the left of Kadima.
The new party cannot rise on ruins and memories but on a clean slate, free of junk and scrap metal. Now that the obstacle blocking the way has been removed, the Israeli social democracy can be built, to make both peace and justice.
Yesterday was just the first step. Netanyahu and Barak will soon become one wormy flesh. Barak's place is reserved as number two in the united nationalist list. The four meatheads plodding behind him will be left to their fate in the Likud Central Committee.
Politics will benefit from this welcome departure. Things will be much tidier and fairer in the next elections, each leader in his appropriate camp. Netanyahu, Barak and Avigdor Lieberman on the far right, Kadima in the wasteland in between and the new Labor movement on the left. The public will distinguish and choose.
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