Monday, January 12, 2009

Divisions within the Israeli leadership

Haaretz reports today that divisions are emerging within the Israeli top leaders with regard to the Gaza campaign. Ehud Olmert wants to press on, even expand the operation; both Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni want to wind it down.

Interesting to note here that Olmert is on the way out as prime minister, disgraced by allegations of corruption but also blamed for the disaster of the 2006 war in Lebanon, widely regarded as a defeat for Israel. One has to wonder if Olmert is hoping to rehabilitate his reputation on the backs of the IDF - and, of course, the bodies of hundreds of dead "terrorists." Both Barak and Livni, on the other hand, harbor dreams of leadership, with Barak hoping to re-emerge as prime minister (Remember: it was he who was voted out in the 2000 elections that brought Ariel Sharon to power) and Livni aspiring to become prime minister herself. Barak is a former soldier - Israel's most decorated soldier, actually - and evidently fears that moving deeper into Gaza City will incur more casualties among the IDF; Livni is evidently concerned about the damage that "Operation Cast Lead" is doing to Israel's reputation.

The political calculations spin on and on, then. In the meantime, demonstrations against Israel's brutality continue around the world, and anger against Israel and its sponsor, the US, deepens.

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