The idiocy of Ehud Olmert.
He wishes to transfer to the Russian government rights to the Sergei Compound, which is part of the Russian Compound, in the heart of western Jerusalem, right off Jaffa Street.
Of course, we cannot blame him alone for this, for he brought it to the Cabinet today, which approved it. And it was, weeks ago, approved by a committee that consisted of Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Justice Minister Daniel Friedman, and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On.
Olmert is going to Russia next week, where he will meet with Russian president Dmitry Medevev; he hopes to present title to the building to Medevev then, as a gesture that will help persuade him not to sell arms to Syria and to back sanctions against Iran.
Here we see the mind (such as it may be) of an appeaser at work. Foolishness. Medevev will thank Olmert for the building and then proceed to do as he wishes. If he decides not to sell arms to Syria, or to back Iranian sanctions — both of which are unlikely — it won’t be because of that building.
There is an historical connection between the Russian Compound and Russia; it fell under Israeli guardianship in 1952, and 90% of it was bought by Israel in 1984, but this particular building apparently fell into the 10% that was not purchased.
There are some very strong arguments for not setting the precedent of turning property in the heart of Jerusalem over to foreign governments.
With all of the other arguments, there is one that pertains in particular to our current situation: The Olmert government is a transitional government, legally bound to only take routine actions to sustain the functioning of the State. Attorney General Mazuz has made this clear.
Thus, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel is protesting this action. They have written a letter to Mazuz in this regard. If Mazuz plays it straight — not in any way a given — he cannot allow this to go through. But the issue is also being put before the High Court. Also no guarantee of anything.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who was here for meetings, made a statement on Israel Radio today, regarding the fact that his country is worried about Iran. He knows, he said, that “something must be done about Iran,” either peacefully or by means of a military operation.
Well, I thought, a bit of logic at play in a crazy environment. That’s what I thought for a brief interval of time, anyway. For he had more to say today. He urged Israel to proceed with the “peace” negotiations even during this turmoiled political time. The reason? Solving the “Palestinian problem” would make it easier to resolve the “Iranian crisis.”
Oi! Just one more person who doesn’t have a clue. Such persons are legion. I would love to have him explain how putting a terrorist entity at our eastern border will so mollify Iran’s leaders that they will decide to halt their nuclear development.
Later, Kouchner made a statement at a Foreign Ministry meeting regarding Tzipi Livni:
“I have confidence in her because I know her. She will manage to create … a vital Palestinian state bordering the State of Israel, guaranteeing the security of Israel.”
Confidence in her? He thinks she’s a miracle worker. While he’s doing explaining, I want to hear how he imagines the mess that is the PA today can be turned into a “vital” Palestinian state. Vital? And exactly how its creation would guarantee Israel’s security.
According to a top IDF officer cited by the Post, the PA is gearing up for a major action against Hamas in Judea and Samaria in a few weeks time, as Hamas challenges Abbas, whose term is scheduled to end.
Yet another sign of the PA’s lack of moderation (such signs also being legion): Ahmed Qurei, chief negotiator for the PA, has met with Sheikh Raed Salah of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement of Israel, a radical Islamist movement tied to Hamas.
According to the Palestinian news agency Maan, Qurei said that the PA would never sign an agreement with Israel that didn’t include Jerusalem, and that delays in finalizing such an agreement simply permits Israel to advance its plans to “Judaize” Jerusalem.
Note, please, that he didn’t say “eastern Jerusalem,” but simply “Jerusalem.”
Two pipe bombs were found by the IDF in a parcel of an Arab man crossing the Hawara checkpoint in Samaria.
This is the same checkpoint where a youth attempted to stab a soldier with a knife two weeks ago, and where a woman threw acid into the face of a soldier just days before that (with the soldier’s vision in one eye still in doubt).
Aaron Lerner in his headline on this today on IMRA reminds us that this sort of checkpoint is labeled “humiliating.” We must never forget that these checkpoints are up for a life-saving reason.
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz has returned from his brief “time out.” He has resumed his tasks as minister and attended today’s Cabinet meeting. However, he did not attend the Kadima faction meetings; his aides say he is in doubt about his political future and does not intend to participate in political activities.
This cannot please Livni, who was hoping for a boost from him.
Livni met tonight with Labor head Ehud Barak, but nothing definitive came out of that meeting. The issues are economic.