Many people are still convinced that Ehud Olmert was Israel’s best prime minister. They may be right. He definitely did some good things. For many years, we weren’t even allowed to talk about one of the important things he did, which had to do with a strategic bombing in Syria.
But the man was forced to quit the premiership. Why? Well, two prime ministers who wanted to make peace were eliminated in the State of Israel, Olmert quoted Yuval Rabin as saying in an interview to Gil Riva on Keshet TV. One was eliminated with gunshots; the other—with investigations.
Suddenly, Olmert says, there was one investigation after another. It wasn’t because he had done anything wrong. It was because the legal system was dancing to the tune of his arch-rival Benjamin Netanyahu, and volunteered to get another prime minister who wanted to achieve peace out of the way.
To intensify the drama, Olmert testified that his political courage had taken him to places other people didn’t have the courage to go to. Well, everything that was suggested by Olmert was suggested by Ehud Barak before him. And another bold proposal came out of the White House on December 23, 2000, in President Bill Clinton’s last weeks in office. The Barak government responded favorably. There may be minor differences, nothing more.
The interview with Olmert was fascinating but most distressing. The man is in complete denial. Not a single word of regret. Everyone is to blame. He didn’t do anything. He was persecuted.
The former prime minister believes wholeheartedly that the legal echelon conspired against him because he dared to take the road to peace. He and the late Yitzhak Rabin are one and the same. Yigal Amir assassinated Rabin. Former State Comptroller Micha Lindenstruass and former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz assassinated him.
And the delusions continue. Olmert still believes that if it weren’t for the political assassination through investigations, he would have gotten very close to achieving peace. After all, there’s no way that the assassination was in vain. It happened because there was a real concern. And it was the last thing Mazuz and then-State Attorney Moshe Lador needed. After all, we all know that they were Yigal Amir’s partners in the secret cell, just like we know Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit are members of Balad’s anti-Zionist council of the elders of Zion.
The problem isn’t Olmert’s peace proposal. It really was a bold proposal, considering the place Olmert came from. The thing is that he is truly convinced that it wasn’t Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who thwarted the proposal, but his own political rivals from within. For many years now, Olmert has been waging an odd and puzzling campaign, refusing to hold the Palestinians accountable.
The Palestinians themselves are saying opposite things. Abbas told then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a day after she heard Olmert’s bold proposal, that he was unwilling to give up the return of four million refugees. And the same Abbas repeated his rejectionism in an interview to journalist Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post. And Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat hasn’t missed an opportunity to say that the Palestinians turned down Olmert’s proposal, not because of the investigations, and not because of then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s advice, and for no other reason but the proposal itself.
But that won’t help. Olmert is convinced that after Rabin was murdered, his peace initiative was murdered for the same reason. It wasn’t Abbas and Erekat, it was Mazuz and Lador.
Olmert has complete faith in himself. He is convinced that what he is saying is true, although there isn’t a grain of truth in there and definitely no regret or accountability.
It’s interesting because Olmert shares the same state of mind as Netanyahu and his supporters. They believe in conspiracies. They think they are being persecuted. Olmert was persecuted, as he himself says because he sought peace. So why is Netanyahu being persecuted? Where’s the logic? That’s an unnecessary question. Because there is no logic when it comes to supporters of conspiracy theories. And if someone thinks that an indictment will diminish Netanyahu’s passion and his supporters’ passion for superstitions, should listen to Olmert. What hasn’t happened to him won’t happen to them.
Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News