Sunday, February 17, 2008

Israel after Lebanon: warning siren, deaf ears

Interesting piece from OpenDemocracy:

Thomas O'Dwyer

An official report scorns the Israeli military and political elite's failures in the Lebanon war of 2006. Its reception suggests that the next war may be close, reports Thomas O'Dwyer. 15 - 02 - 2008

These are strange political times in Israel. This became clear to me on the day the official commission of inquiry into Israel's disastrous Lebanon war of July-August 2006 issued its report. It became the main topic of conversation in many unlikely places, including a reception for the opening of an Irish film festival in Tel Aviv attended by Ruth Dayan, the widow of the late General Moshe Dayan, the legendary hero of the six-day war of 1967. When I asked her if she thought the report would bring down the government, she replied: "I hope not. Who wants an election now? Let (prime minister Ehud) Olmert stay - if he goes, we will get something worse."

The Dayan family is regarded as a prominent part of Israel's old aristocracy of the left; Ehud Olmert, leader of the Kadima party, is a long-time stalwart of the right. This should have been a startling comment to hear from the likes of Ruth Dayan. But in these days of political angst and uncertainty in Israel, old attitudes are no longer a reliable guide to current political judgments.

The report from the Winograd commission (named after its head, retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, and released on 30 January 2008) may not exactly have seen the Israeli peace camp rallying to the support of Olmert (a man its members once roundly despised); but it has been shining a strobe-light on some classically wayward establishment gyrations that illuminate unexpected shifts in Israel's political landscape.


1 comment:

William said...

Interesting and sort of gloomy. God forbid that there's another war - though we have to recognise the possibility.