Commentary Magazine


Then and Now

Writing in Haaretz about the “sad farewell party” that George W. Bush organized for Ehud Olmert inside the White House, Aluf Benn says it reminds him of eight years ago:

Then as now, an Israeli prime minister at the end of his road tried to achieve a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians, with the help of an American president about to be replaced. Then, as now, the Israelis and Americans wanted to sew things up and the Palestinian leader refused to sign, saying the deal was a bad one. Then, as now, Israel was facing a political reversal and the rise of the right to power. Then, as now, the prime minister displayed determination and doggedness, while the public was just waiting for him to go away.

Please. Then, as now, an Israeli prime minister had reached the end of the road with a Palestinian “peace partner” unwilling to yield on a specious “right of return,” or on a claim to all of East Jerusalem, or an insistence that 95 percent of the West Bank was just not enough.

Then, as now, the Israelis and Americans were fairly desperate for peace, or at least a peace agreement, while the Palestinians thought the existing pro-Israeli U.S. president was about to be replaced by a new president, more sympathetic to their cause, who would give them a better deal.

Then, as now, the Israeli public had had it with the overblown promises of the peace process and the failure of the government to respond to the war it had produced, and were ready to turn to more experienced, less starry-eyed leadership.

Then, as now, the media described the Israeli prime minister’s policy as determination and doggedness, when in fact it was the completely predictable (and predicted) end of still another chapter in a misnamed process.