Let?s Not Get Confused ?(1?)

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This war proved what the army and its commanders are really worth. Conclusion: Down with the generals!

Behaving wisely, as usual

When the prime minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, said this week that in order for Jerusalem to take advantage of the opportunity for peace, ?Israel has to behave wisely,? many people clucked. Nu really, did we need a comment like that in order to ?behave wisely?? And what were we doing before we reached this pass?

The truth is that, on the basis of our past experience on other fronts, it is easy to conjure up our responses to this allusion to peace, in all their stages. In the first phase, we will start to doubt the personality and even the sanity of this so-called ?purveyor of peace,? not to mention his true motives. First of all, can anyone really take seriously a peace proposal that comes from that nerdy guy who cried shamelessly ? tears, sniffling, handkerchief and all ? at the conference of Arab foreign ministers? Come on, now. Someone who broke after just 50,000 bombs were dropped on his country and his capital ? how can he cool-headedly withstand the minimal demand of any Lebanese ?(or Egyptian, or Israeli?) leader who signs a peace treaty in our region: to be assassinated in cold blood? And besides, what kind of name is that, ?Siniora?? And for a man, too? This just goes to show who we?re dealing with here and reveals the scale of the pretensions and ambivalence of the man, who probably never even spoke with Yves Montand.

In the next stage, after we have utterly mocked and dwarfed the personality of the designated partner ? as we did initially with the unserious Sadat, the unshaven Arafat, the ?baby chick? Abu Mazen and even the diminutive ?Hussi? ? we will disqualify him as an interlocutor for serious negotiations on heavyweight political grounds. Even if it turns out that this Siniorita is partially sane and has serious intentions, would it not be absurd to sign a peace treaty with a country as unserious and unimportant as Lebanon, which is in any event just a branch of Syria?

How did Olmert put it this week ? just as Sharon, Shamir and Golda put it before him ? as he counted off on his fingers the conditions for unconditional talks with Syria? ?When Syria stops supporting terrorism / stops supplying missiles that are aimed at Israeli cities / stops sending weapons to Israel?s enemies ? only then will we be delighted to conduct negotiations with it / hold a dialogue / and maybe progress to some sort of arrangement / which will bring a little more ... uhhh ... / tranquillity to our region.?

Let?s see, now: The poet is talking, with an ironic wink, about some vague ?dialogue,? about ?progressing? in the direction of ?some sort of arrangement? that promises ?a little more tranquillity.? But he is careful, like someone stepping around a puddle, not even to dip his toe in the word ?peace,? because the price of that is known and there is no readiness to pay it ?(at least not until after the next war?). In other words, as with the Palestinians, as with the Egyptians before the Yom Kippur War, and as with the Syrians now, it is only after the enemy starts behaving as though a full and sustainable peace already exists between us ? only then will we consider the possibility of advancing toward some sort of arrangement, and maybe even of holding some sort of dialogue.

In the next stage, if we haven?t managed to rebuff the peace proposal as blatantly ?unserious,? we will persuade others, and be persuaded, that this is not the right time. Yes, peace talks are important, but not now. Not when the president of the United States is a lame duck ?(or has just been elected, or is on the brink of an election campaign?); not while we are counting our dead and/or licking our wounds and/or preparing for the next war and/or all is quiet on the front and/or the front is not quiet.

This Beiruti Signoret better get the order of things right: first, democratization in Iran and the elimination of its nuclear capability; then the demilitarization of North Korea; the democratization of Syria; the framing of a constitution for Israel; the immigration of another million Jews; and, finally, the consent of Shas and the guy at the watermelon booth, who constitutes the power base of Olmert and Bar-On in Jerusalem, to remove the ?nightmare of peace? sticker. Until then, ?statements about negotiations with Syria are harmful; we do not have to leap immediately into negotiations,? as Olmert summed it up.

Take note of the word ?immediately,? a good ?ole word that has done its work faithfully for the past 40 years. Until two months ago we said there was no point in negotiating with Syria because it was anyway too weak and battered to recapture the Golan Heights. But now, there is no point negotiating with a strong Syria, which has drawn encouragement from the IDF?s failure and has pretensions of getting back the Golan by force. It follows that ...

Let?s not get confused ?(2?)

This war proved only what a leadership that hasn?t got a clue about military matters is worth. Conclusion: Down with the civilians!

The agenda

It was worth ?waiting patiently,? as Olmert suggested, to hear his clarification this week, albeit slightly belated, as to the goal of the war: to repair the damage it did to the North.

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