A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
December 30, 2007 Yean End Musings
As the year comes to a close, it would be very easy to write a summary of the year. This has been a year devoid of accomplishments. What may be considered Israel’s greatest accomplishment of the year is still shrouded in secrecy. Prime Minister Olmert’s major success has been to stay in office.
If anyone a year ago would have predicted that Olmert would still be in power as the year came to a close, he would have been considered a fool. However, while it is hard to say he has been rehabilitated, his opinion ratings have not risen above 20%. On the other hand, even though the second part of the Wingrad Commission’s findings is due in the coming month, Olmert has made it clear that he will not resign regardless of the findings. So far Olmert has avoided being indicted in any of the many cases that he has been investigated for. Minister of Defense Barak had promised to resign when the findings were announced, but has now made it clear that he will not. His reasoning may not be hard to divine. Barak’s approval ratings have dropped from June when they were 53% to just 30% today. He is certainly not ready to run in an election against Netanyahu, who is now leading in every poll.
As the year comes to an end, the Palestinian Authority arrested the members of the Islamic Jihad who were responsible for the death of two Israeli soldiers on Friday. The attack, which seems to have been a spurt of the moment attack on some soldiers who were hiking, resulted in an Israeli search of the Hebron hospital. Palestinians returning from the Haj have been blocked from crossing over in Gaza via the Rafah Crossing. Egypt is agreeing to Israeli demands that they cross via Kerem Shalom where Israel can screen them.
As a new year arrives and the American political campaign hits high gear, many dangers lurk for Israel. Many are calling for a re-entrenchment in Americas global position in response to the failed Iraq War. That call usually includes a call for some sort of cut back of support to Israel. That call combined with a growing support of a bi-national solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem will be a major challenge to Israel’s diplomatic/hasbara [there is no real translation of the word “hasbara” in English. The closest translation possible is positive propaganda] activities in the coming year. The threat of a nuclear Iran will not recede in the coming year, but unfortunately grow.
Next year will no doubt be a year of many challenges, some unexpected and some predictable. Unfortunately, it looks like the same ineffectual government might be leading Israel a year from now: then of course, the unexpected can always occur.