At the end of the day it was that bad war – which magically disappeared from Ehud Olmert’s resignation speech as if it was nothing but a bad dream – that sent him packing.
That bad war, which was not even hinted at in the sea of words uttered by Olmert at his residence, and which the prime minister was wrong to believe came to an end when the bodies of abducted troops Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were return, that war ended for him only after he finished reading his statement and walked away.
And a good thing it happened. Because there should be a price for that war, which was not mentioned in his speech. There should be a price for the needless death of 160 people and the terrible rift it created between the troops and those who sent them to battle. Olmert paid that price Wednesday evening, at 8 pm precisely.
He paid the price just like his other partners to that arrogant move – Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. Just like his partners, he did not quit. He was fired long months ago, yet only now managed to get up and walk away.
So Olmert said he does not intend to run for Kadima’s leadership? What a shocking surprise, especially in light of his six percent approval rating. Six people out of every 100 think he is fit for the post. For many of those people, the resignation speech was yet another shining example of his verbal abilities and apologetic skills.
“Fighters for justice on behalf of themselves” – this is how Olmert referred to the people who believe he is not fit to be PM because of his arrogant failure in Lebanon, the cash-filled envelopes, and the days he spent flying first class en route to luxury suites in New York.
Wonders and miraclesOlmert delivered a farewell speech, noting all his achievements, as if he was a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat: The quiet in the north, the IDF growing stronger, the restored deterrence, and of course the poor people that disappeared, the Holocaust survivors who are doing better, and the children at risk who have been salvaged. And we didn’t even mention the upcoming agreements with the Palestinians and Syrians.
Yet what about Hizbullah, which doubled and possibly tripled its strength? What about the immense funds that had to be spent on replenishing military stockpiles and training reserve forces? What about the embarrassing allowances to Holocaust survivors and undelivered promises to children at institutions?
It was a speech that was all about wonders and miracles, devoid of any flawed appointments, needless ministries created to boost the coalition, or outrageous promises to coalition partners.
It took two years. Olmert survived the end of the war, survived the protests, demonstrations, petitions, David Grossman’s speech about the hollow government headed by the PM, survived the bereaved families’ claims, the High Court petitions, the first Winograd Report, and the second Winograd Report.
Yet as powerful as he may be when it comes to manipulations and shady deals, he did not take into account forces that are stronger than him: Namely, natural justice, that sense of justice that is not premised on the law, but rather, on the inner sense of people, and which surfaced in the public discourse a day after the war ended; that same inner feeling that tells us what’s right and what’s wrong.
Now, Olmert will have plenty of free time to prove his innocence. And we, battered and bruised, shall hope for good things to come.