“Ehud Barak was again revealed to be someone who cannot be counted on at all. Aliza and I were already planning our trip to Italy, yet there came Barak and ruined everything. I need to keep leading this country and suffering” – had this been a satirical column, those would have been the prime minister’s words a few minutes after signing the pseudo-deal with the Labor party that averted the Knesset’s dissolution.
However, this is a political column, so great efforts must be undertaken in order to understand why Ehud Barak shook up this country for a whole month, only to reach an agreement whose details were known weeks ago.
Perhaps some things here are hidden from view and will be revealed following the publication of the first edition of the Barak-dictionary-for-the-confused, thus exposing the defense minister as a political genius. Possibly. Yet for the time being, any way you look at it, it is very difficult to identify the Labor chairman’s achievements in the agreement formulated overnight.
Kadima primaries in September? Things were moving in that direction anyway, only now they will apparently be held towards the end of September, rather than earlier. Olmert is unable to function, Barak said? So how will he explain the fact that he helped reinforce Olmert’s status as a full-time prime minister until the end of September at least? And where did Olmert’s morality problems disappear, the ones that made sitting around the same government table with him “morally tainted” in the words of Knesset Member Shelly Yacimovich, Barak’s ally? Did these problems evaporate overnight? And what happened to the prime minister’s inability to run the country, represent it overseas, take decisions, and deal with diplomatic and security problems?
Olmert gains stable coalition
Barak will have to work hard in order to logically explain what the Labor party and the country gained from his moves in recent weeks. He will have to sweat to make us understand how it could be that after all the threats to topple Olmert, Barak and his ministers capitulated, and while at it pulled the prime minister out of the political grave he was slowly sinking into.
Up until 24 hours ago Olmert was close to his political demise, en route to sustaining a grave blow at the Knesset and becoming the PM of a transition government. Yet there came Ehud Barak and under the cover of darkness connected him to a respirator and eliminated the momentum for genuine shakeups.
The Labor party chairman will also need to explain why he contributed, with his very own hands, to reinforcing Israelis’ distrust in their politicians.
Not only is Olmert not going home for the time being, he even received from Barak and his colleagues legitimacy to keep governing with a stable coalition, to initiate moves, and to prepare for Talansky’s cross- examination with no political threat hovering above his head. After all, Olmert was interested in reaching July 17 still strong, and the ability to provide the best show in town is still in his hands: No elections and no threats – now all he needs to do is prove that Talansky did not give him money, but rather, took money from him.
And after everything that has happened here in recent days, is there anyone willing to gamble what will happen until September 25th?