Another tack: Negotiate with me

If we prop Abbas up, we could pretend that he can actually stand on his own.

That's it. No more carping, No more heckles from the sidelines. No more righteous indignation. The time has come for me to recommend to Ehud Olmert a concrete proposal, a workable alternative. Olmert, his cunning notwithstanding, is teetering on the precipitous brink of political bankruptcy. His popularity ratings are the lowest ever recorded in this country. His spin-docs advise he acquire an agenda in a hurry. Supercilious rhetoric alone won't do. A snake-oil salesman can hardly go peddling without any snake-oil. Any grifter must have something to market. Our Olmert started out hawking "convergence" (previously hyped as "disengagement"), whose trademark he soon changed, for promotional considerations, to "realignment." All the shills he planted in the crowd to enthusiastically extol his dubious panacea, however, failed after the past summer's Lebanese shenanigans exposed the glaring flaws of his miraculous remedy. Clearly nothing but increased pain was evident wherever unilateral disengagement/convergence/realignment was applied. That sort of made this particular cure-all hard to swallow again - anytime soon, at any rate. Haplessly our energetic entrepreneur was left without merchandise (i.e. agenda). Desperation breeds risk, and Olmert indeed gambled by heaping unstinting praise on the very brew he had previously denigrated and which his now-discredited marvel medicine was destined to replace. Olmert seemingly rediscovered the very negotiated-settlement prescription which he had earlier pronounced worthless and against whose phenomenal shortcomings he plugged the disengagement/convergence/realignment self-medication potion. Why did Olmert pronounce a negotiated settlement worthless? Because PA President Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) couldn't deliver the goods. In all likelihood he didn't even want to. He was only after hefty payments for what he couldn't/wouldn't deliver. In his contortionist reversal Olmert now proposes this same Abbas as the ultimate cure - as the man we negotiate with for our deliverance. WHAT HAS changed? Has Abbas amassed more power than he had before his Fatah faction lost the election to Hamas? Hardly. If anything, Abbas lost the little clout he ever possessed. He is now at the mercy of local Hamas under Ismail Haniyeh's titular leadership, Khaled Mashaal's Damascus-based Hamas overlords and of course Mashaal's Syrian and Iranian masters. Abbas is likewise at the mercy of his own Fatah factions, whose ideological distinction from Islamic Jihad is as deep as the ideological divide between mafia "families." So why deal with Abbas? Basically because Olmert has no other wonder drug with which to entice us. When there's nothing else to sell, you scrape the bottom of already empty barrels. The upshot is that Abbas, whom everyone knew way back as thoroughly useless, is now upheld as the embodiment of our fervent hopes. If we prop him up, we could pretend that he can actually stand on his own, that he is viable and reliable, and that he alone can alleviate our aches and angst. Like any good panacea-purveyor, Olmert too boosts sales via accomplices who attest to the quality of the concoctions on offer, as if the customers hadn't just recently found them foul. Tzipi Livni, for instance, in the time-tried shyster-shill tradition, does her darndest to make us forget our harrowing experience with precisely the Osloite elixir she boisterously pushes at us yet again - though its willfully mischaracterized ingredients already proved irrefutably harmful to our health and long-term survival prospects. Olmert, Livni, Shimon Peres and the rest of the duplicitous crew know that the scheme they go into raptures over is a non-starter. They can promise Abbas oodles of territory, dozens of evacuated settlements, thousands of freed terrorists and all modes of capitulation, but none of that would buy us even short-term pain relief. While the other side may occasionally oblige and take what Israel cedes, it will never declare satisfaction. Olmert & Co. know that none of their ostensible business partners wants to establish a Palestinian state. If it were otherwise, they'd have done so pre-1967 or following Ehud Barak's egregiously generous proposals at the 2000 Camp David summit. What these purported partners want is to obliterate Israel. Demands for a Palestinian state are one of the means to undermine the Jewish state. Gazans don't even try to pull the wool over our eyes. In an official statement last week, Hamas reiterated its opposition not just to Israel within the pre-1967 lines, but even to a paltry Israeli vestige in the microscopic morsels of territory which the UN allotted Jews in its 1947 Partition Plan. That means no Jewish state whatever. Hamas unabashedly demands "the international community correct its 1947 mistake," while in the same breath affirming that this doesn't negate its readiness to first take over the 1967 territories "without preconditions" - as per the "phased solution" model (i.e. Israel's phased destruction). HERE'S WHERE my workable alternative pitch for Olmert comes in. It's obvious that his concessions to Abbas can only aggravate our peril. What we give away on narrow-waisted Israel's elongated eastern flank won't buy us even respite, but will inflict such suffering on the country's heartland as to make Kiryat Shmona and Sderot appear idyllically placid. Therefore, Olmert, don't negotiate with Abbas or indirectly with the Hamas thugs he fronts for. Negotiate with me instead. Why not? I have as much of a say-so in the PA or Hamas as Abbas has. Haniyeh and Mashaal will bow to my authority as much as they will to his. Moreover, I can be counted upon not to double-deal, not to smuggle weaponry, not to hoard rockets, not to finance terror, not to extort ransom and not to advance the "phased solution." Unlike Abbas, I'll do Israel no harm. Admittedly, I can't deliver the goods, but neither can he.