Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."

By Emanuel A. Winston,

Research Associate,
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
October 18, 2006

I have met Ehud Olmert many times and he impressed me (at the time) as articulate and able to think quickly on his feet. The first time was at the famous Ted Koppel TV show, where the Arabs insisted on a fence down the middle of a stage. Ehud spoke very well that night. He seems to have done a decent job as Mayor of Jerusalem. But, I cannot be sure of that.

So what caused his complete inability to deal with the Lebanon surprise by Hezb’Allah or his cruel advise to then PM Arik Sharon to abandon Gush Katif in Gaza.

There are several answers:
1. Olmert had zero experience in thinking about military strategy or tactics.
2. Olmert could not possibly assess the advice of General Dan Halutz whose Air Force mind-set told Olmert that air power could easily win any war. Olmert accepted Halutz’ outlook.
3. Olmert has a facile, quick mind which is geared more to the courtroom, legal machinations - all of which narrows into maneuvering politically. While that served him well in the vicious battle of politics, none of which prepared him to protect the Jewish nation militarily.
4. He cannot grasp the fact that radical Islamic Muslims will accept anything Israel gives up but not change their Islamic doctrine to eliminate Israel.

Moreover, he was easily manipulated by President Bush and Secretary Rice who had their own political problems and used Israel as one element in ameliorating their political problems with the Arab Muslim world. Regrettably, this is still continuing as Olmert complies with U.S. pressure to pretend that the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abut Mazen) is a peace maker. Despite the fact that Abu Mazen is President of the Fatah movement (whose military wing is the Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade) and that the P.A. never cancelled the PLO Charter which avows to occupy all of Israel, Olmert still gives him the kosher stamp of credibility.

Olmert’s supposed "smarts" as a behind-the-scenes advisor to Sharon was totally short-sighted.
Both Sharon, advised by Olmert, ignored the larger threatening picture in Gaza, focusing instead on their personal political needs. Sharon and family, as published, were under a legal cloud for using his office for personal gain which led inevitably to subsequent indictments of, at least, Omri, Sharon’s son, who "fell on his sword" to keep his father in power.
Most of the IDF General Staff and Heads of the Security Services advised Sharon NOT to evacuate Gush Katif, specifically speaking to the fact that abandoning the Land would give the Arab Muslims an operating base on Israel’s Southern border. This, of course, has happened, as forecast by all of Israel’s security services as we have quoted often. Since more than 5,000 Kassam rockets had landed in Israel even before Abu Mazen, Fatah and Hamas had full control, it was obvious that after Israel abandoned the land, the 21 communities and the 10,000 Jewish men, women and children in Gush Katif (and Northern Samaria), the bombings would increase. Kassam rocket bombings did increase, as well as increasing their accuracy and their range.

Olmert’s advise to ignore the expert military advice was totally political and devoid of any consideration for the dangers it posed to all of the Israeli population. Olmert’s focus was totally political namely, keeping Sharon in power while the risks to everyone else simply didn’t enter his calculations. Nothing in Olmert’s background prepared him to think in terms of exposing all of Israel’s southern and (from this summer’s war) northern borders to missiles launched from an abandoned Gaza and an undefeated Hezb’Allah.

All of these factors coalesced when Olmert was confronted with a full scale missile attack by Hezb’Allah from Lebanon. Olmert not only fumbled the proper response to that war, he became primarily responsible for the unnecessary deaths of Israel’s career soldiers, reservists and civilians because of his stupid vacillation. Here we must add that Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Chief-of-Staff General Dan Halutz as equal partners in fumbling the response to the Hezb’Allah assault.

What is more vexing at this time is that what should be rapid re-training of the career soldiers and reservists is again being fumbled by Olmert and his entire Kadima Party as they concentrate on staying in political power and holding onto their precious seats and perks.
Olmert is doing the only thing he understands - which is to maneuver politically. This is particularly dangerous as Syria and Iran pour weapons into Lebanon, Gaza, Judea and Samaria more missiles, rockets and anti-tank weapons which were supplied by President Vladimir Putin of Russia - despite his promises NOT to do so.

Olmert and his people are not only indecisive about what to do, their decisions lack coherence, quality and are loaded with self-serving politics - all of which leaves the Jewish nation vulnerable and in a leadership vacuum at a very dangerous time in the world.

What is even worse, Olmert cannot see or understand his faults. When he makes grievous mistakes, he does not fault himself - he never faults himself. But, immediately and by an amoral character moves to cover it up!
Olmert cannot help himself and will continue being what he is. He has the qualities of a highly paid "Pakid" (clerk) or bureaucrat unable to rise above his basic character and incompetence. Therefore, in these perilous times with Hezb’Allah in the North, Hamas in the South - both backed by Iran (probably nuclear) and Syria (probably armed with chemical warheads) - Olmert is a Clear and Present Danger to the Jewish Nation.
That government of Kadima must fall immediately and be replaced by a Government who understands peril and not serve the political interests of other nations at the risk of its own survival. Shimon Peres in linkage with PM Olmert has virtually told Iran and Syria that Israel’s cities are NOT prepared for a saturation missile assault. It was a terrible mistake to publically proclaim that weakness.

But, even worse, it was the Rabin, Peres, Barak, Netanyahu, Peres, Sharon, Olmert governments who didn’t have the foresight or interest in developing that protection for Israel’s cities. They even cut back on arming both the city "Shomrim" (civil guards), the outer towns and kibbutzim - lest it irritate the Arab and Muslims nations. Clearly, it is past time to push Olmert’s government out of power and start creating a survival government before Hamas, Hezb’Allah, Syria and Iran make good on their threats to eliminate the Jewish State.