Friday, June 15, 2007

This Week in Failed Prime Ministers (FPMs)

It was a good week for our current FPM, Ehud Olmert. The election of former FPM Ehud Barak as chairman of the Labor Party and the election of PFPM (Partially Failed PM) Shimon Peres as the next president of Israel, allow him to stay in office for a while longer. Former FPM Benjamin Netanyahu was humiliated when the Likud's presidential nominee, Ruby Rivlin got only 37 votes in the Knesset.

I used to have a fantasy about Israel's next general elections. I hoped we may get a chance to pick between two great candidates for prime minister: Avishai Braverman of Labor, and Tzipi Livni of Kadima. Now that seems far fetched. Even if Livni will be Kadima's next nominee, the real fight will be between two very bad options. So, which FPM is the lesser of evils - Bibi or Barak? Barak, but not by much.

Meanwhile in Gaza, the results of former FPM Ariel Sharon's policy of unilateral withdrawal are now proving that the disengagement was a disaster. Most Israelis believe Sharon was one of our greatest leaders, but he was not. His insistence on pulling out of Gaza without talking to the other side was a mistake for which we will pay for a very long time.

But I'll end on an optimistic note. The day Shimon Peres was elected president also saw the conclusion of a 3-day conference of Israeli and Palestinian peace NGOs in Tuscany, Italy, organized by the Peres Center for Peace. Representatives of over 100 organizations participated and discussed ways to promote peace even while our governments aren't negotiating with each other. One of the conference's achievements was the creation of a network of NGOs who will now cooperate with each other. Hey, there may still be some hope yet.

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