Watermelon Speech

Who will remove the dust from Golda's eyes and ears? She has a successor, who inherited all her self-righteousness, her hypocrisy, her pontificating and her self-pity. As if 42 years of occupation had not passed.

Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a hesitant, tortuous and fearful vision of a future that will never arrive: a "Palestinian state" around which he wound so many threads that there is no chance of it ever emerging from its cocoon. He will not stop settlement construction or even remove "illegal outposts"; he will not divide Jerusalem; and the Palestinians must first recognize Israel as the "nation-state of the Jewish people." And it must negotiate "without preconditions." Only Israel can set those.

The man who was once considered a sorcerer yesterday appeared as the apprentice: He knows the words of the spell, but does not know how to undo it. In his despair, he finally broke the broomstick and gave half to Barack Obama and half to Benny Begin.

Last night, Netanyahu was at his best - or rather, his worst. And this was "a major policy speech." When he came in, he was still dressed in a suit of expectations. But when he left, he appeared wrinkled, as if he had just escaped a night train that was about to run him down.

That is what inevitably happens when you want to please everyone. When you intend to just barely discharge your obligations, you do not fulfill your obligation as a leader.

The results of the Iranian election allowed Netanyahu to mount the Bar-Ilan stage on the right foot for his audience. If Mousavi had won, perish the thought, and Obama was celebrating another victory, the speech would have had to be rewritten.

It is always easier to deal with the contemptible, so we will now await a Hamas victory. After all, it is clear that without a Palestinian state soon, and not at the end of days - without dismantling settlements and reaching a compromise on Jerusalem - there will be no real negotiations with moderate Palestinians.

It was a speech for this watermelon season. A watermelon is 92 percent water, and so was this speech. And today's watermelons, as we know, don't even have seeds.