Bring Back the Old Ehud Olmert
It took until after his corruption scandal-induced resignation, but interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave an interview in September to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth urging Israel to negotiate a comprehensive peace with its neighbors or be consigned to endless war. The New York Review of Books translated it. Here are some key excerpts:
I read the reports of our generals and I say, “how have they not learned a single thing?” Once, a very senior official told me, “They’re still living in the War of Independence and the Sinai Campaign.” With them it’s all about tanks, about controlling territories or controlled territories, holding this or that hill. But these things are worthless.
What was Menachem Begin’s genius?… He started from the end. He began by saying, “I am ready to pull out of the entire Sinai—now, let us negotiate.”
…When I look back to the prime ministers who preceded me, Arik Sharon, Bibi Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, I can say that each made a step in the right direction but that at a certain point in time, at a particular juncture at which a decision was necessary, the decision did not come….
You look at Gaza right now and you wonder whether Olmert even remembers this interview.