I had written the other day about the army reservists who were starting to take action — in anticipation of the final Winograd Report — to get Barak to pull out of the government; I explained that they were part of a broader coalition.
Now we see yet another branch of that coalition has taken action: Bereaved Parents, those who lost their sons in the Lebanon War. Their focus is very much on getting Olmert to accept accountability for his decisions during the war and to resign.
Today this group made an appearance in the Knesset, where they formally presented a report: Eich Naflu Giborim, "How the Courageous Fell" — an alternative to the Winograd Report.
This report begins:
"We are parents of children who fell while defending their country in the Second Lebanon War. We are bound to this country with every fiber of our being, and in all of our actions, small and large. We have always considered contributing to our country a central component of our outlook. The enlistment of our sons and daughters to serve in the Israel Defense Force was the natural consequence of their upbringing. Our children’s enlistment, like our enlistment in the past, did not stem from obedience to the law and walking the beaten track, but rather from a profound moral awareness.
"…A staggering majority of cabinet ministers are behaving as if they are not the ones at the receiving end of the harsh statements made in the Winograd Report. They go about their jobs as if their wartime conduct was not a failure, as if they do not know they have failed.
"…The prime minister has failed, and after reading [these] words he cannot remain in office for a single day more…The foolish attempt to present the [war’s] final operation as a move that induced a positive change in the clauses of the truce agreement adds fuel to the flames of failure.
"The ostentatious campaign of the last sixty hours [to the war] did not bring about any improvement in Israel’s standing, but 34 families lost their loved ones in those sixty hours."
A word of explanation here: At the end of the war, when Olmert knew that a truce was imminent, he ordered a final push. It accomplished nothing of military substance (and should have been ordered much sooner), but rather was intended to show how strong we were to the end — that show by Olmert intended to enhance his political position at the end of the war. He later claimed that the terms of the truce were more in our favor because of this last push, but this has been shown to not be the case.
In simple point of fact, in the course of that final push, 34 of our soldiers died for no good reason.
It is difficult for me to imagine the pain of this for the parents or how they deal with it. They are determined now to take down the prime minister. My prayers are with them and may they succeed exquisitely.
A number of people across the political spectrum spoke today in the course of the proceedings — from Uzi Dayan on the left (whose Tafnit party did not make the cut into the Knesset in the last elections) to MKs Zevulun Orlev and Aryeh Eldad of National Union-NRP on the right.
The goal in bringing this to the members of the Knesset was to charge them with moral responsibility for the situation: If Olmert does not respond, it becomes their job to see to it that he is removed.
The report was compiled meticulously over the course of the last year and a half, as parents met in each others homes, compiling the details, as they needed to learn why and how their children fell.
“The prime minister wants to ensure that Israel’s citizens quickly forget the war, and will employ all and any means to do it. He himself noted that the war is but a distant memory to him…
“We all heard the prime minister say that a miracle had transpired, and that God had sent us to war so that we can detect and fix all of our military failings. Do our leaders even hear the words leaving their mouth? How can the prime minister possibly speak of a miracle when a mother, weeping on her son’s grave a year after his death, stated that it was all for naught?”
The bereaved parents — who are doing an immeasurable service for the nation — wanted to hand the report directly to Olmert, but were prevented from doing so. MK Eldad tried again to give the report to Olmert and was rebuffed.
This arrogance, in the face of the parents’ pain, speaks perhaps more than anything else of the true character of Ehud Olmert.
As MK Aryeh Eldad, who has a way with words , said: "This country should send him back to one of the many homes that he owns."
Back to Gaza:
Yesterday, in the face of international outcry and an apparent reduction in Kassams, Barak allowed supplies to move again into Gaza.
Today the situation has shifted as Palestinian gunmen used explosives to break through the fence at Rafah, permitting tens of thousands of residents of Gaza to flood into Egypt.
As usual in these matters, part of what is being dealt with is a PR war, with the Arabs presenting a situation of Palestinian suffering to the point of starvation that is simply not the case. Israelis are currently concerned that many of those who fled into the Egyptian part of Rafah, ostensibly to stock up on essentials so that they would not "starve to death," include terrorists who are returning into Gaza with money and weaponry. Arutz Sheva reports that according to A-Shark Al-Awsat, an Arabic paper, Hamas security forces were involved in the demolition of the fence at several points.
Hamas is touting this as a "victory." And Hamas leader Mashaal in Damascus in essence called for a breaking of agreements regarding the Gaza-Egypt border with an open crossing to exist there.
At first, Egyptian police fired on the crowds , injuring some 90, mostly women, but were then told to hold fire. While willing to turn a blind eye to terrorists smuggling into Gaza, Egypt has absolutely no desire to see hoards of Gazans flooding into their country. They are now supposed to be working to "stabilize" the situation.
Naturally, this entire issue will now be raised in the UN Security Council, where we will be made the villains. The US has promised to veto any resolution.
Meanwhile, Hamas has declared that they intend to continue launching Kassams at us. Some 20 rockets were launched today.