25 May 2008

Syria - Israel negotiations and coalition of the unhappy

No one in his right mind is going to predict what, if anything, will come out of the Turkish triangle where the willing hosts scurry between the two parties that are unable even to face each other. Meryl brings proof that Syria is not syrious, and who can say that she isn't right? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, however, it is both entertaining and educational to watch the powers that be that are up in arms against the negotiations. The top honcho, to start with:

President Bush nearly gave the game away last week. In his White House interview with this and three other Israeli journalists, when he was asked about American reluctance to see Israel legitimating Syria by opening peace talks with Damascus, Bush said he ha d "never told [Prime Minister] Olmert one thing or another about what to do with his security. That's not what friends do."
Well, Olmert surely chipped at the "axis of Evil" doctrine. Which, predictably or not, made Mahmoud the Mad unhappy too:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed his surprise and displeasure at Syria's "violation of its commitment to Iran" by holding talks with Israel, the London-based pan-Arabic daily Asharq alawsat reported Friday.
Was it a rehearsed communique, agreed with Damascus in advance or a genuine outburst? We'll never know, not that it matters all that much.

Rather predictably, the news made somebody at home very unhappy too. At least in public.
"There is wide agreement from Right to Left that the diplomatic process cannot be used to shelter politicians in distress," Netanyahu said. "Most of the public knows the prime minister expedited the talks with Syria and set the exact time for revealing them to distract the public from the investigations against him. Olmert, who is up to his neck in investigations, has no moral or public mandate to conduct fateful negotiations on Israel's future."
That was somewhat reaching, as many of us understand the ploy. Negotiations with Syria is something that many a PM, including Bibi himself, toyed with for too many years to count, and it is hard to blame Olmert in trying what others failed in. Besides, while Olmert is up to his ears in trouble on the domestic front, he didn't, after all, steal anything from Baby Assad. At least there is no proof he has ever been in Damascus...

Predictably, when Bibi is unhappy, so is JP:
Iran's man in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Assad, has just had the best week of his career as dictator. Everywhere he cast his gaze he was greeted by massive victories. Most were courtesy of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his colleagues in Kadima, the Labor Party and Shas.
Caroline (and Bibi as well) will be better off not forgetting that the above mentioned villains have done quite well last September, making Baby Assad rather unhappy in a very tangible way. But memory is not the strongest trait of politicos.

In any case, the really troubling revelation came from the same JP:
New York financier Morris Talansky, the witness at the center of the corruption scandal engulfing Ehud Olmert, was encouraged to come to Israel this spring and give evidence against the prime minister by a group of leading rightist Israeli rabbis who want to bring Olmert down for fear he will cede Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount and other parts of Jerusalem, a spokesman for the rabbis said Thursday.
This one should really cause nightmares to (at least) some of the leading politicos here. Judging by the fact that the last three PMs were investigated for various unsavory deeds, it may be hard to impossible to find one that is not corrupt or, at least, can't be accused of this or other transgression. And these "leading rightist Israeli rabbis" with whom Olmert was as thick as thieves (no pun intended) during his days as mayor of Jerusalem, decided that it's time to turn over some stones. Which would have remained unturned, should Olmert have continued toeing the line.

Maybe it is high time to implement a thorough vetting of candidates for some public (and elected) jobs? Maybe it will help not only the elected leaders who could then deal with issues at hand without looking over their shoulders, but the country as well?

On the other hand, it may be simpler (and cheaper all around) to set a "thievery threshold", i.e. an amount of money that is allotted to each public figure for foul play. After all, the investigations and the associated paperwork are no less costly...

Oh well, we cannot solve all the problems in one post, can we?