Thursday, October 26, 2006

Olmert's dangerous choice - Leader - Guardian

David Seaton's News Links
With the collapse of US positions in the Middle East on the horizon, Israel itself appears to be melting down. Ariel Sharon's coma seems
the situation's magic metaphor. DS

Avigdor Lieberman is a bad advertisement for Israel. The latest member of Ehud Olmert's coalition is a rightwinger who advocates a hard line against the Palestinians - and in a way that borders on the racist.(...) In policy terms, that means the annexation of the large Jewish settlements in the West Bank in a proposed "swap" that puts Arab areas in pre-1967 Israel under the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian state - formalised ethnic cleansing. Polls say he could win many more votes in future.(...) The background to this cynical move is the deep disarray in Israel since the month-long summer war in Lebanon. The army failed to defeat Hizbullah guerrillas and Mr Olmert, trying to look tough, appeared to make up policy on the hoof, killing 1,200 Lebanese and finally ordering an offensive in which scores of Israeli soldiers died in vain and thousands of cluster bombs rained down on Lebanese villages. To the dismay of doves, especially in the Labour party, Mr Lieberman is to be put in charge of "strategic threats", which will give him a say in defence policy, including towards Iran's nuclear ambitions. Thus his appointment is itself a "strategic threat," one liberal newspaper warned. With Hamas calling the shots on the Palestinian side and a known extremist wielding real power in Israel, the situation looks as bleak as it has for a long time. Read More

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