A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
September 5 , 2012-Security Cabinet Meeting Held then... Olmert Sentencing Hearing
Refugees on the Border
The top news story today in Israel was the holding of a security cabinet meeting to discuss Iran. It was the second meeting in two days after no discussion on the matter for six months. For those who are concerned that an important decision was made at this meeting, no need to worry. The meeting was called to order and then Prime Minister Netanyahu promptly announced that he was cancelling the meeting, since there had been some leaks from the meeting the day before. The leaks were not particulary interesting and did not exactly unveil any military secrets. However, Netanyahu was furious. As a result, the only group that is authorized by Israeli law to decide on action regarding Iran was told their meeting was cancelled. Maybe some day this group will meet again. Even the small security cabinet has not met to discuss Iran for six months. The general sense here is that the chances of a unilateral Israeli attack have receded for the time being.
There was one report that Defense Minister Barak is adamantly opposed to attacking Iran before the US elections and thus interfering in the elections in any way. The American message not to attack now could not have been more clear. While there are no guarantees, with a message like that from the US, any action is unlikely. The posturing could all be ruse. Though tonight I am hopeful I can put away in storage the very long Ethernet cable I bought to reach the bomb shelter under our building at least for a while. None of this has stopped the demonstrations every night across the street from us, calling on Barak not to go to war.
The second piece of news today was the hearing on Ehud Olmert's sentencing. The judges will probably give their verdict after the holidays. For the one count of the indictment on which Olmert was found guilty the state attorney only asked that he do six months of community service. This case remains very strange. I have yet to find anyone who can explain how his secretary was found guilty in the case of the double billing of his trips abroad and he was found not guilty. The most amazing thing is Olmert's friends are talking about his potential return to politics, and how he is the only real alternative to Netanyahu. Of course there is the little case of his trial for bribery in the "Holyland Affair" that has to be resolved first. Of course how a nice honest man could be accused in so many different affairs is also a little hard to understand.
Another newsworthy item today is the plight of 20 Ethiopian refugees who are trapped on the other side of our new border fence with Egypt. They are technically in Israeli territory, but the Minister of the Interior has ordered that they stay in the desert by the fence. These refugees are not even being allowed to enter into our newly erected detention facility. Our soldiers are providing them with food and water through the fence. The issue of the illegal African refugees present a series of serious problems. Nonetheless, this is not how a Jewish state should be treating other human beings!