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Olmert Explains Why He Must Go

The first two paragraphs of today's New York Times report, Olmert Says Israel Should Pull Out of West Bank, reveals unequivocally why so many Israelis seek Olmert's departure. They fear him and his policy intentions far more than Israel's enemies Hizballah, Hamas, and Iran do.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview published on Monday that Israel must withdraw from nearly all of the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem to attain peace with the Palestinians and that any occupied land it held onto would have to be exchanged for the same quantity of Israeli territory.

Perhaps Mr. Olmert has not noticed what happened after the honorable withdrawal from Gaza. Left to their own devices, how has that worked out?

He goes on.

He also dismissed as “megalomania” any thought that Israel would or should attack Iran on its own to stop it from developing nuclear weapons, saying the international community and not Israel alone was charged with handling the issue...

“What I am saying to you now has not been said by any Israeli leader before me,” Mr. Olmert told the newspaper Yediot Aharonot in the interview on the occasion of the Jewish new year, observed from Monday evening till Wednesday evening.

And the Israeli leaders before him have never said such things because such things are interpreted as weakness by groups prepared to strike Israel and destroy her, "from the sea to the river."

An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations, if believed to be producing the nuclear weapons Iranian leaders have said could smote Israel in one strike, is hardly "megalomania." It is survival under threat and self-defense.

This is not to say that the solution to the generations of conflict is solvable by muzzle and turret alone. But at the same time, while the New York Times may laud it as a "soul-searching interview" with Ehud Olmert, it smacks more of cowering defeat than introspective intellectualism.

Tzipi Livni waits in the wings to largely assume stewardship of Olmert's policy designs. And this has Israeli conservatives afraid for the defense and welfare of Israel, even fearful of her survival. Her enemies have never been stronger.