Friday, August 11, 2006

Olmert and his war under attack: Get me a Bush-like spin...
















The mood is shifting in Israel: both the general public and political and media elites are getting the war has been a dissaster to all concerned. According to Reuters:
Rising Israeli casualties and constant Hizbollah rocket attacks have sharply eroded public support in Israel for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defence minister, an opinion poll showed on Friday.

The survey in the Haaretz newspaper found only 48 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Olmert's performance compared with popularity ratings of more than 75 percent in polls taken in the early stages of fighting against the Lebanese group. read the rest.
The new trend in public opinion are shaped by and reflected in the Israeli media, according to the following report in Editor and Publisher:
Doubts About War Growing at Hawkish Israeli Daily

By E&P Staff

Published: August 11, 2006 12:10 AM ET updated Friday

NEW YORK From the beginning of the Israel-Hezbollah war last month,
the popular daily, Ha'aretz, like other publications (and most of the
citizens) in that country, has taken a very hawkish position on the
conflict, with some dissenting opinions also aired. But on Friday, the
tone at the paper, as reflected on its Web site, changed dramatically,
on the day after 15 Israeli soldiers were killed in Lebanon.. Several
news stories and opinion columns expressed harsh truths or critical
views.

There was even a column bemoaning the "crushing" of the Beirut music scene.

A top news story stated: "The public consensus that had accompanied
the current fighting in Lebanon from the first day officially
dissolved yesterday afternoon, following the cabinet's decision to
expand ground operations in Lebanon.

"Meretz Knesset members, who had previously backed the Israeli
military response, came out openly against expanding the ground
offensive, with some warning of tragedy ahead."

Another dispatch by well-known reporter Ze'ev Schiff opened: "The
large number and the location of the casualties that the Israel
Defense Forces sustained yesterday indicate that the army does not yet
control the narrow strip along the border, although this stage of the
ground operation was supposed to have been completed already."

The opinion section of the Web site is now called "In the Quagmire."

One columnist begged for "truth, not spin." Another stated: "The
result of this whole mess is that an incursion deep into Lebanon will
leave Israel with a choice between cholera and the plague, between
sitting for a prolonged period in fortified positions in the killing
fields around the Litani or abandoning the whole of Lebanon to the
hands of the war coalition of Hezbollah-Syria-Iran."

The lad editorial closes: "The war is being waged not only under fire,
but also under a barrage of 'fighting words,' systematic leaks, a
'loudmouth' policy on the part of senior officers and statements about
what is going to be discussed and what has already been discussed in
the diplomatic-security cabinet and the war room. This is not the way
to run a war, and it is not the way to make changes in the leadership
of the command that is doing the fighting."

A column by Meron Benvenisti, titled "Regressing a Full Generation,"
begins: "Every time we have gone to war with the slogan of creating
"deterrence capability" (at least three times), it has actually
spurred the enemy to prepare for a more serious confrontation. The
last time it was called "searing the Palestinians' consciousness," and
its results were the victory of Hamas and a bleeding blind alley in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip....

"The war and the atmosphere that has prevailed in its wake have caused
Israel to regress by a generation. It is no wonder that people see
history as a cyclical process, and that this war (like its
predecessors) is also seen as the "last lap of Israel's War of
Independence." And with what fury we are stoning those who do not rush
to fill the heroic role being forced on them, and instead counter it
with a desire for normalcy. Those who began this unrestrained war want
to inflate its importance, in order to justify the terrible - and
steadily increasing - price that is being paid solely in order to
achieve a victory for the gambler. But perhaps the fact that they are
conducting a 1950s strategy with a 21st-century society and culture is
cause for optimism: It will not work."

Uzi Bensiman, meanwhile, declares: "It is to be hoped that the United
Nations Security Council will quickly pass the resolution ending the
war in Lebanon in the spirit of the agreement revealed on Thursday.
Ehud Olmert must be encouraged to lead the cabinet firmly to adopt it.

"This war broke out in no small way because of the Israeli
leadership's lack of diplomatic-military experience and failure to
predict the future. Olmert will have to be magnanimous in accepting
the compromise taking shape internationally, because it will be an
admission of Israel's inability to achieve its declared goals.

"There is reason to believe he has this quality. He is not a cynic
who, for reasons of prestige or other extraneous considerations, would
take tens of thousands of soldiers into battle to risk their lives.

"The diplomatic solution, in spite of its limitations and the bitter
pills to be swallowed, is preferable to expanding the war, since a new
military move would not change the outcome of the armed conflict. Even
if the military limits considerably Hezbollah's short-range Katyusha
launch capabilities, it will not erase the impression that this
organization has made in its challenge to Israel."

And this call for Olmert's resignation, Olmert Must Go! by one of Israel's leading columnists, Ari Shavit.

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