May 29, 2007 Peretz Tries to Turn Defeat into Victory
The first round of the elections is over, and all the talk today has been about the fact that Minister of Defense Amir Peretz won as many votes as he did. He and his supporters have been talking as if they are now the king makers in the Labor party. The feeling among many of his supporters is that despite what the Winograd Commission said, the fact he was able to get so many votes is a huge accomplishment.
Peretz is expected to try to enter into negotiations with both the Barak and the Ayalon camp to try to get as much of his agenda approved and to make sure that he is the number two member of any party list. Some observers noted that both the Ayalon camp and the Barak camp were skeptical- both feel that coming to any agreement with Peretz could lose core supporters. Let's put this into perspective. Even though Peretz did better than expected, he was just voted out as head of the party, and the number two garner of votes was MK Ami Ayalon. Most Labor supporters do not want to see Peretz as number two, they want him gone.
It seems the Hamas leadership has ordered a cessation of the rocket fire on Israel. The cost of the Israeli retaliations has become too high. There is only one problem: the military commander of Hamas forces refused to obey. Unless there is one government and one military, the most militant has the veto power over any agreement. Ze'ev Shiff wrote in this weekend's HaÕaretz how the Palestinians have a long history of not being able to observe ceasefires. He traces the story all way back to the Palestinians in Jordan in the early 70Õs, through their history in Lebanon, all the way to today. It is worth reading.
Another worthwhile piece to read is the testimony before the House's Foreign Affairs subcommittee by Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, head of the US military mission to train the Palestinian security personnel, on the situation in Gaza. Testimony
Finally, there was a very interesting piece on Israeli TV on Iraq. It depicted the total dominance of Iran in southern Iraq. Farsi is now becoming the language of business, with the Iranian representative the true ruler of the area. Remember why the US supported Saddam Hussein originally? It was to balance Iran. Well, since we forgot about that as we invaded, we will now pay the consequences of a country ever increasingly dominated by Iran. Even more incredible is our current policy which is to further train the Iraqi army to take over from us. We are training a Shiite dominated army who will be soon taking orders from Iran. Talk about an irrational policy.