The bizarre diplomatic spat sparked by Olmert's annoucement that he had intervened with Bush personally to overrule Rice should not be blown out of proportion, but it reveals something about the shortcomings of both of these lame-duck administrations (in Jerusalem and D.C.):
"In Jerusalem, however, officials went to sleep thinking the Americans had only agreed to support a 48-hour humanitarian cease-fire. At 1 A.M., final confirmation came from New York: The U.S. had promised that no cease-fire resolution would be brought to a vote any time soon. An hour and a half later, however, it became clear that not only was the Security Council due to vote on a cease-fire resolution at any minute, but Rice had ordered America's UN ambassador to support it. Olmert promptly telephoned U.S. President George Bush to complain about Rice's behavior and demand that he restrain her. What Bush said to Rice remains unknown. What is known, however, is that the U.S. suddenly changed its vote from "yes" to "abstain."
The whole story would have ended well had Olmert behaved like a responsible adult and restrained his own impulses. Even his close associates admit that he would have done better to skip the public boasting about how he persuaded Bush to overrule Rice. Quite aside from the fact that this embarrassed the U.S. administration, Olmert's associates understand all too well that this story merely provides fresh ammunition to those who claim the Jews are the ones who really control America. " (Ha'aretz)
If this is correct, the Secretary of State was responsible for a diplomatic screw-up that could have cost Israel dearly, and in fact hurt its position. What matters here is not the substance of the particular resolutions in question but the fact that State had signalled to Israel that there was nothing to worry about. I cannot understand Ha'aretz's concession here to the "Zionist lobby" antisemites. This has nothing to do with Jews "controlling America, but with proper diplomatic coordination among allies.
Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet is set to vote on a unilateral cease fire. With Hamas having rebuffed the Israeli position, and the Damascus wing of the organization, publicly supported by the presidents of Iran and Syria, continuing to adhere to a totally rejectionist line, I am having trouble making sense of this development. At the moment, Israeli troops are deep inside Gaza. Israel should not withdraw troops without an agreement involving the Palestinians.