01/02/2008

Olmert’s government on a tightrope, peace also…

Published Wednesday, the Winograd report on the management of the Lebanon war of 2006 deals a further blow to the government of Ehud Olmert. Although the commission of inquiry led by Judge Eliyahu Winograd does not explicitly recommend the resignation of the Israeli Prime Minister, it underlines its mismanagement of the war against Hezbollah.

Ehud Olmert has already indicated that he will remain in power, but that he will also take this report into account to make reforms. However, this approach seems unlikely to convince the opposition, which requires the resignation of the Prime Minister.

With regard to peace yet, resignation or not, the situation is similar. If Olmert continues negotiations without a strong mandate from the Israeli population, the progress will only be fake. If he resigns, the situation will be clearer, but the peace process should then be reconsidered on other basis which may make it fail again.

The responsibility of a new failure could not be entirely attributed to the Hebrew state. On the Palestinian side, Hamas and Fatah camped in their positions despite efforts made by the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to reach an agreement. Mahmoud Abbas refuses indeed any discussion until Ismail Haniyeh‘s Hamas does not recognize his mistake and returns under the Palestinian Authority’s power, what the latter does not seem ready to do.

We can therefore no more speak about hopes on the success of the peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state before the end of the year. A success would indeed be a miracle, or a mirage.

N.J.O.