Tzipi and the drug lords

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Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has finally found a mission she can sink her teeth into. This week Israel's would-be prime minister declared that she will leave no stone unturned in her quest to commute the sentences of two Israeli drug dealers just condemned to death by a court in Thailand.

Yigal Mahluf and Vladimir Agronik were arrested in Bangkok last December while in possession of some 23,000 Ecstasy pills. Livni has promised that she will take their case all the way to the King of Thailand if she needs to.

Livni's decision to champion degenerates appears to be just another example of what happens when a government has no sense of priorities. Indeed, she seems to have no idea what her job is. Rather than use diplomacy to advance the national interest, Livni uses diplomacy to help two criminals who have harmed Israel's reputation. More tellingly, she embraced these national embarrassments the same week she chose to do nothing as Israel was repeatedly condemned for its crime of existing at the UN General Assembly.

As it does every year, this week the UN marked the General Assembly's November 29, 1947 decision to accept the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state with a full schedule of events bemoaning that decision and decrying the existence of Israel. If Livni had any sense of priorities, she would have used the week as a means of delegitimizing the UN, which is today the largest and most powerful anti-Semitic organization in the world.

She would have ordered Israel's ambassadors in places like Thailand to use the week as a way of persuading foreign governments to stop supporting the UN's anti-Semitic agenda. But instead, her ministry announced that it was going to ignore the UN this week. There is no point, the Foreign Ministry said, to defending the country when the cards are stacked against us. The notion that Israel can win by losing never seemed to occur to Livni.

ARGUABLY MORE disturbing than Livni's failure to grasp the purpose of diplomacy is what her embrace of drug dealers tells us about what she values, and what the government she represents values. Livni's actions on behalf of Mahluf and Agronik call to mind the government's decision to free unrepentant baby killer Samir Kuntar and four other Hizbullah terrorists and hand over the bodies of 200 Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian terrorists to Hizbullah, in exchange for the bodies of murdered IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser this past July.

Livni, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their colleagues presented their decision as a testament to their commitment to IDF soldiers. But in their self-praise they conveniently forgot that their actions empowered Israel's enemies and so increased the chance of war. Far from a testament to their dedication to IDF soldiers, their decision increased the chance that countless soldiers and civilians will be killed in another war.

As with the bodies-for-terrorists swap last summer, so with the clemency-for-drug-dealers this week, Livni exhibits a consistent moral obtuseness in her repeated habit of placing the interests of the few above the general interest of the country. And then after abandoning the common good, she cynically presents her devotion to the few as proof of her patriotism and leadership skills.

While Livni's actions lend to the conclusion that the government lacks any sense of priorities, the truth is far more disturbing. The fact of the matter is that the Olmert-Livni-Barak government lobbies for drug dealers and frees baby killers not because they don't know what they are doing. They advance these absurd policies to divert public scrutiny away from their actual priorities – which are truly dangerous.

One of the government's main priorities is to inculcate Israel's vital national institutions with its perverse view of the national interest. Doing so will ensure that Israel suffers from the government's legacy of incompetence and failure long after it is gone.

Take the IDF for instance. Last week the Prime Minister's Office leaked a classified document to Haaretz which detailed the view of senior military brass that Israel should give the Golan Heights to Iran's best Arab friend Syria. By placing its national security in the hands of Iran's Arab proxy, the General Staff claims absurdly that Israel will be better off because Assad will disavow the very ties to Iran to which he owes Israel's willingness to give him the Golan Heights.

More than anything else, the leaked document showed that despite all the added training that soldiers have undergone since the Second Lebanon War, and all the talk about learning the lessons of that war, the IDF is still led by politicized generals who are willing to sacrifice the nation's security if it makes them popular with the leftist media.

Top commanders like Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, OC Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and their underlings are the legacy of this government which promoted them. Their unreasonable and frankly dangerous willingness to trust Assad exposes an ugly truth: If Hizbullah (which thanks to Livni, Olmert, Barak and their strategically challenged IDF subordinates has tripled its military strength since the 2006 war) renews its war against Israel tomorrow, there is no reason to believe that the IDF would be any more successful in defending the country and defeating Hizbullah than it was in 2006.

The corruption of the IDF General Staff by incompetent and opportunistic leaders exposes clearly some of the massive challenges that will face the next government. But those challenges pale in comparison to the strategic disaster that Olmert, Livni and Barak are preparing for their successors.

IN ITS waning days in office, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government is seeking to tether the next government to a set of policies that when taken separately and together empower the country's enemies, destroy Israel's strategic importance as a US ally and make it impossible for Israel to defend itself either diplomatically or militarily.

During his visit last week to Washington, Olmert set out his agenda for his last months in office. First, he is ceding massive amounts of territory to the Palestinians. And second, he is seeking to commit the next government to ceding still more territory to the Palestinians.

Over the past few months, Olmert has been rolling back all of the IDF's military successes from Operation Defense Shield in 2002. He is transferring control over Judea and Samaria to Palestinian militias and restraining IDF operations in the areas to such a degree that within a short period of time, the Palestinians will be able to rebuild their terror infrastructures in the areas. This week Bethlehem was the latest city surrendered to the Palestinians and from which the IDF will be all but barred from operating. Hebron, Jenin, and Nablus have already been handed over to Fatah.

Olmert's massive land giveaways are being carried out with absolutely no public discussion. They are being billed as a way to "empower" weak, lame-duck Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. But the fact is that they simply set the course for Hamas's takeover of Judea and Samaria.

As for Hamas, while Olmert was in Washington, he sent his emissary Amos Gilad to Cairo to negotiate an extension of Israel's one-sided cease-fire with Hamas. The cease-fire that Gilad secured this summer did four things. It enabled Hamas to stage a massive build-up of its military capabilities in Gaza free from any threat of Israeli attack. It surrendered the military initiative to Hamas. It paved the way for Hamas's international legitimization. And it committed Israel to cease its counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria six months later.

This last devastating aspect of the cease-fire is the least discussed. Hamas demanded that in return for its limitation of rocket and mortar o
ffensives against southern Israel, Israel cease its counter-terror efforts not only in Gaza, but in Judea and Samaria as well. Israel balked but reportedly agreed to curtail its activities in Judea and Samaria in six months.

In the intervening six months, Israel has set the conditions to do just that. By transferring control over Palestinian cities to Fatah, which is no match for Hamas, Israel has not only curtailed its own operations. It has set the conditions for a Hamas takeover of Judea and Samaria in the coming year.

But this not all Olmert is doing. Aside from actually handing over territory to the Palestinians, Olmert is striving to commit Israel's next government to ceding still more territory including all remaining portions of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians. With Livni's full support, Olmert is attempting to conclude a US-guaranteed agreement with Abbas that will make such Israeli concessions binding on his successors.

If the next government tries to disavow Olmert's 11th hour surrender talks, Olmert is setting conditions that will make it all but impossible for the country to disengage from his commitments without wrecking its relations with Washington. During his visit to the US capital, Olmert sought to formalize his view that Israel is a US client state rather than a US ally and so render it all but impossible for a future Israeli government to stand up to US pressure.

Olmert's declared goal in his meeting with President George W. Bush was to have Bush provide a meaningless pledge that the incoming Obama administration and the Congress will honor Bush's already proffered empty pledge to provide Israel with financial handouts for the next decade. By presenting his request for handouts – in the midst of the gravest financial crisis to hit the US economy in decades – as his chief concern, Olmert cast Israel as a strategic liability and welfare case and so tried to undermine any residual US support for Israel as a strategic ally and asset for Washington.

AND THIS isn't all. While Olmert surrenders Israel's military initiative to its enemies on all fronts and wrecks Israel's most important international alliance, he seeks to take away Israel's long-term capacity to defend itself from future military and diplomatic assaults. With his enthusiastic embrace of the so-called Saudi peace plan, Olmert is committing Israel to accepting the Arab narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Saudi plan is predicated on the wholly mendacious claim that there has never been any Arab aggression against Israel – only Israeli aggression against Arabs and legitimate Arab resistance to Israel. With Olmert now giving his stamp of approval to the Saudi plan, he is denying the country its moral right to defend itself both militarily and diplomatically.

In the coming weeks, as the elections draw near, the Israeli public will be subject to countless mini-crises of the magnitude of the plight of Livni's drug dealers to convince the public that she is a competent leader. Some of these crises will be aimed at obfuscating the fact that she is a full partner in Olmert's agenda. But no matter what their proximate cause, all of these crises will serve the wider aim of hiding the government's real priorities and actions from the public.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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  • marcel cousineau 11/28/2008 at 17:24

    Why is Israel in such a mess with such treacherous, evil leaders bent on bringing about a second holocaust ?
    How could the most ignorant and dangerous ,the most perverse of Israeli society rise like cream to the top ?
    ‘Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.’
    Isaiah 1:4
    When the people forsake God they embrace insanity and Israel has become insanely mad.

  • exdissident 11/28/2008 at 19:58

    This problem is not Israel’s alone. The same crap has floated to the top of American politics. Actually are there any democratic countries left, that elected rational, wise, and corageous leaders.

  • Ron Grandinetti, USA 11/29/2008 at 1:44

    Give Syria the Golan Heights. How absurd is that. The leaders in Israel must be drinking kool-aid.
    To think that this gangster and knuckle head Assad will change and all of a sudden become a good neighbor of Israel is like believing in the tooth fairy.
    Listen, trust is something you earn by being honest and keeping your word and none of your neighbors fit this description. Recognize the enemy for what they are. They want to destroy you.
    Negotiations with your neighbors mean you give and they take. The more you give, the more they want, until you are no more.
    Surrender no territory. Was nothing learned from giving up the Gaza Strip?
    Wake up Israel, get a grip on yourselves. Mumbai should tell you something about the terrorist. They are a part of a major network of terrorist supported by Iran and her buddies. The criminals were singling out Americans, British and Jews to kill.
    Elections are around the corner and you need to remove the weak and timid left wing liberals from office. They appear to be playing into the hands of these devils.
    Please wake up.

  • marcel cousineau 11/29/2008 at 17:32

    You are deceived if you think America is Democratic or a Republic or that the people any longer have a voice in this terminally corrupted corpo- government oligarchy.
    We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
    Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.
    Yeremiah 51
    The Yoke Around Israel’s Neck
    The U.S. has used the false peace Road Map to trap Israel.
    A restraining yoke is clearly around the neck of this once powerful now weakened nation.
    No one else but a treacherous friend could have gotten close enough to accomplish this.
    Lat week Israeli P.M Olmert returned from Washington with warnings not to go after Hamas in Gaza.Israel’s hands are tied because her ‘only friend’ has become her slave master.
    The false alliance between Israel and Washington is meant only to restrain Israel and keep her from defeating her enemies.
    We saw this with the 2nd Lebanon war against Hizbollah when President Bush came to the rescue of the Islamic terrorists under Saudi and Egyptian pressure.
    We know these Islamic enemies have no intention of peace with Israel and only one goal of destroying this Jewish nation.
    What is incredible is the level of U.S. involvment in this plan and the blindness and silence of the Church in America with this evil in highest places of our Government.
    The U.S. led Road map is the diabolical and crafty yoke around Israel’s neck which has trampled her sovereignty and reduced her to slave status after the manner of Egypt.
    Once again the great superpower Pharoah ,King of the World under Satan’s direction has snared the Jews,but only for a limited time.
    I am convinced that very,very soon God will destroy America to remove this yoke from Israel neck so that ISRAEL can do what He has called her to do. * read Jeremiah 51:17:26
    (America is Babylon and the destroying mountain vs24-26)
    Truly the elect are deceived and the strong delusion is already in place.
    ‘And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
    The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.
    For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
    For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.
    Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
    For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.
    And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.
    And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.’
    Isaiah 10:20

  • Scott 11/29/2008 at 18:21

    Exdissident and are both right.Zionists in America are in despair,how Ehud Olmert(probably the worst leader that Israel has ever had)could survive LOSING a war with Hezbullah!Israel has got to change…change its electoral system,and elect patriots to run the country,instead of retread gangsters and thieves who pop up again and again,interested only in their personal gain.There will only be hope when Israel elects a leader who is for Zion first,and himself second.

  • Alan Greenfield 11/30/2008 at 8:51

    Although saving two disgusting drug criminals from certain death in a foreign land is a commendable deed, and something that the US and other quasi-enlightened countries would also do (I presume), it is quite insincere for Livni to champion easy causes like this one primarily for the sake of enhancing her media image – in other words, if she was really such a “caring” person, she would be investing at least a few nanoseconds to also promote more difficult causes like defending Israeli citizens against certain death from Terror Inc., and in freeing ISraeli patriot Jonathan Pollard at this crucial time of presidential pardons – regardless of the attention and controversy drawn to her. To promote these causes would presuppose that Livni is a person of truth, integrity, strength, and courage – certainly not attributes found on her dismal record.

  • marcel cousineau 11/30/2008 at 17:44

    India needs to follw Israel’s example.
    We no longer need to defeat this Nazi like enemy ,just follow the Neville Chamberlain model which Israel has been religiously following for some time now.
    Appeasment,retreat and surrendert instead of defeating the terrorists and never,never call them Islamic.
    This is forbidden in our Orwellian new age.
    Instead of defeating Hamas in Gaza the fearful leader Olmert and his government of defeat will fortify homes in Sderot under attack,release more Islamic terrorists with blood on their hands and go after fellow Jews for the extremist crime of living and building homes on their land.
    That is the Israel example sure to reap another World War all over this globe.
    We don’t learn from history and we choose the most ignoarant of leaders to lead us to hell and it’s at the door.

  • David Custis Kimball 11/30/2008 at 22:13

    Somehow, Bush and Obama seem aligned and of course the Clintons… they love to see criminals… hey why not drug lords? … released. Is it their fantasy that they too will find redemption? I worry about a breakdown of our constitution by electing a person who is NOT A US NATURAL BORN CITIZEN… not even a citizen…., but this in combination with a meltdown of world finances (to those out of the loop) and great accumulation to those in the loop, would give a perfect counterpoint to the ANTI-US and Anti-semitic UN. Imagine a world leader who could align with Russia and present a socialist country and then….whammo…scare the BeJesus out of everyone….That Russian ship that can nuke stuff 3000 miles away….whew…and all our subs with nasty rockets….and Iran would be our instant buddy anyway…and China…sure they could just keep on feeding plastic to chickens and infants….cheep eggs….sick kids… perfect for New World Order.
    I don’t get a chance as often as I would like to speak up… but now it is important. I’m from Illinois, where Obama reigns from an almost Hitleresque rise by muscle politik (the Daley Machine), but much of my heart is from that Natural State (Arkansas), just below that Show Me state (Missouri)….. I’m appealing to the Show-Me-that-Natural-State leaning people who are not afraid to ask the question… Obama, will you prove to me where were you born? The certificate of live birth on your website only shows that you were alive in Hawaii before age 1….and it’s looking like a forgery as it was printed on a form only available in 2007….whatsup with that?
    I have signed the petition like some 115,000 others….. will you join the legitimate request for disclosure on the REAL Birth Certificate?
    Here is the link to the petition and more news from the World Net Daily…
    If the answer is NO, then our President Elect is not Eligible to Serve as President. If the answer is Yes, and the original document is produced showing his birthplace …. and it is Kenya ….. then the answer is again NO.
    So far, all we are able to answer is NO… time is running out…..oh yea, and if you forged what’s on your website document(s)….let’s take you to an Arizona Tent in Pink Underwear…and eat some beans and rice for a few years….
    If our NO’s are disrespected and ignored, then we face a breach of our constitution and the prospect of a WORLD PRESIDENT, who will lead us from a fraud into an uncharted abyss, which to him seems like everything …. but to all others may well turn into nothing…..
    Support Clarence Thomas and his efforts to review this situation …. reportedly on Dec. 5th.
    Israel, and now India are feeling the NOTHINGNESS of those who would destroy anything and everyone to intimidate, defraud and claim everything…it’s Islamic jihad.
    Perhaps the prophecy of Armageddon did not appreciate the miracles that the free spirts of the world have been able to accomplish….yea, the email that is before you. You might just actually help things out…. cause it doesn’t look good where this is going.

  • Jay 12/04/2008 at 20:44

    I dont know about anyone else, but i can barely read these editorials anymore. It makes me literally sick to read how the minds of World Leaders everywhere have gone soft ..ala Chamberlin. The hypocracy,deceit, and relentless twisted propaganda used by the Worlds multiculturalists is the real enemy at the gates…I just dont see how we can fight such a threat when its hiding its lies behind a mask of democracy and human rights. just like in WWII, not until the threat is critical, will world leaders wake up to the truth. history repeats itself again, and again.


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