As he expressed his delight with the Saudi initiative, he also did not fail to add King Abdullah to the list of those being praised. And after he taught us several months ago already that "the war boosted our security situation," he continued to repeat in our ears talk of the war's great accomplishments, our victory, and the fact that all his decisions regarding the war were right.
This self-praise was complemented this time with declarations that "the war created a revolutionary change in the region" and that "within five years we'll be able to reach peace with our enemies."
We can assume that Olmert's peace prediction is based, among other things, on that same "revolutionary change" created by the war, which according to the PM "further clarified the recognition among leading Arab countries that Israel is not their greatest source of trouble."
According to this unique logic, if Israel is indeed not their greatest source of trouble, it follows that they again present the Arab initiative from 2002 and, of course, ratify it – as it is better for the Arabs to put an end to small trouble in order to make time for addressing bigger troubles. This is how we are seeing the emergence of more sensational news: The last war was also a trigger for peace, in addition, of course, to its numerous other "benefits."
Therefore, just like the Oslo Agreement provided us with "many positive things," accordingly to Olmert, so did the last war, and no less so, the return of the Arab initiative, including its demand for the right of return and our complete return (without any amendments, changes, settlement activity, or trade-off of territory) to the 1967 borders – with these clauses appearing at the top no less.
Moreover, the Arabs do not view it as a basis for negotiation, and certainly not as an opening position ahead of discussions.
Take it or leave it, said Amre Moussa, and this is likely one of the rare cases in history where capitulation (that is, the agreement of the defeated side to accept the terms set forth by the victor) is "reversed," and not only do we see the defeated side in the war dictating its demands to the winning side, but also leaving it with no right of appeal. Thus, the victor, which liberated territory in a defensive war, has nothing left to do but mutter: "We shall act first and hear you later."
Oslo mistake repeated
In fact, the almost sole reservation of the leadership in Jerusalem regarding the Saudi-Arab peace initiative, the one that is supposed to take Israel back to what a leftist such as Abba Eban characterized as the "Auschwitz borders," has to do with the demand for the right of return. Add just like Israel, with great wisdom, endorsed the terrorist from Tunisia about 14 years ago in Oslo, with the US following suit, the same is happening now.
When Olmert, Livni, Sheetrit, Peretz and co. constantly praising the Saudi-Arab venture, even if they bother to note the "refugee reservation," the world cannot but adapt itself to the change.
And so, the Europeans, like the Americans, started lauding the plan without looking too deeply into it, and particularly into its refugees.
Since the three "NOs" of the Khartoum Conference in 1967 – No to peace with Israel, no to recognizing it, and no to negotiations with it – which were comensurate with Nassar's slogan that "what was taken by force will be returned by force," the Arab world indeed went through a revolutionary change, although a somewhat different one than what our prime minister attributes to it.
In light of the lesson of the failure to return territory by force in 1973, compared to the success in getting it back through negotiations with the Jews, for example in Camp David in 1978 and in Oslo in 1993, there is no wonder that even this conservative and rejectionist world is willing to adopt the new tactic; a tactic that through its very rejection of the old and failed in the face of the new, proven, and successful manages to create quite a confusion amongst us, and particularly succeeds in drawing our leadership into a trap customized for the Jews.
And so, our prime minister, with an approval rating that is much lower than what Barak enjoyed when he was engaged in his "end of season sale" in Taba in 2001 (with the parliamentary backing of about 30 Knesset members,) and with the sword of Winograd and of corruption investigations above his head – seems to happily rush into this initiative.
However, the initiative's practical implication is no less than a death certificate for the Jewish State, through peaceful means of course, but it may also serve to encourage the media to "protect" Olmert. With peace hanging in the balance, media criticism may subside as a result – Israel may not be salvaged, but Olmert may very well be spared.