No Partner

Posted: October 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, The Left, The Settlements | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

MK Daniel Ben Simon, who resigned yesterday from his post as Labor’s whip, explains his decision in an article for Haaretz [Hebrew]. This is a must-read for those who still think that Israel is pursuing peace. Ben Simon is not some ultra-Lefty, but rather a moderate rookie MK, who supported Barak’s decision to enter the Netanyahu government after the general elections. it took him only eight months to understand what’s going on.

Ben Simon describes his useless attempts to convince Defense Minister and head of Labor Ehud Barak to respond to Obama’s peace initiative:

“Look, Ehud, there is no peace process, there are no negotiations, there’s no settlement freeze or outpost evacuation. We haven’t done anything we promised the public,” I told him. “What will we tell the Israeli public?”

To my astonishment, he said we have no partner, that there’s no one to talk to. I remembered that nearly a decade before, when we heard similar lines from Barak, they sank the country into despair and brought a series of misfortunes in their wake.

Is it possible Ehud Barak hasn’t changed? Is Ehud model 2009 really the same as model 2001?

It wasn’t easy to bring the party into Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. Only after Netanyahu agreed to move mountains for the sake of peace and economic and social progress did the Labor members consent to joining. Meanwhile, I looked forward to the pairing of Netanyahu and Barak, hoping the two had learned some lessons from their first miserable term in office, that miracles were possible in the political arena.

If they wanted to move forward, nothing would stop them. If the charismatic speaker and decorated general decide to make history for the nation’s sake, who can stop them?

They cooperated as no pair of leaders had before, and the power concentrated in their hands had not been seen since the days of David Ben-Gurion. If they made a breakthrough, the wider public would follow them blindly.

“Ehud,” I pleaded with him at one of our meetings, “The public is waiting for news. Party members are despairing – they’re beside themselves with worry. They fear that at this pace, the party won’t even be there at the next election.”

“Danny,” he said, his voice rising. “You don’t understand who we’re dealing with. We made them a lot of offers, but they refuse to enter negotiations.”

I reminded him that we had yet to remove even a single outpost. What message does that send to the Palestinians? Why should they believe us while the hammers at the settlements and outposts don’t stop pounding for a minute? Is this the way to help a U.S. president full of good intentions advance a genuine peace effort?

And just how long would Allan Dershewitz go on referring to Barak as “dovish”, when even his party members don’t buy it anymore?


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