The Spectacle Blog

Is Olmert Finished?

By on 8.15.06 | 11:30AM

Golda Meir was forced to resign as Prime Minister of Israel in the wake of 1973's Yom Kippur War, should the current Olmert government face the same fate in the wake of its failure in the war against Hezbollah? Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick answers a resounding Yes. I'm inclined to agree.

Glick outlines what a military and diplomatic disaster the war was for Israel (perhaps the worst defeat in the nation's history). But in my view there's an additional reason why this government needs to step down so that new elections can be held. Olmert ran primarily on a policy of disengagement from the

West Bank, a policy that will go absolutely nowhere now. This summer, we saw Israel under attack from two areas it had withdrawn from: Southern Lebanon and Gaza. In both cases, terrorist groups used the increased mobility to import weapons, fire rockets at Israeli civilians, and tunnel into Israel to kidnap soldiers. The warnings of the anti-disengagement crowd have all come into fruition. Ariel Sharon, who had gravitas and a legendary military career, was only able to disengage from Gaza after years of fierce fighting with Palestinians and after building a security fence that helped curtail suicide bombings. Even then, he faced tremendous obstacles, including resignations from his government, assassination plots and the threat of civil war. When Olmert came in, there were already serious doubts about him as a wartime leader. He had to earn the trust of the Israeli people before he could seriously begin disengagement. The war against Hezbollah was an opportunity for Olmert to prove himself, but instead he reinforced the doubts about him. At this point, disengagement is dead. Olmert has no standing to carry out the policy that was the centerpiece his agenda. And since Israel is a parliamentary system, it's time for him to go so that new elections can be held to deal with the new realities on the ground.

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