We’ve been posting a great deal of information lately about some disastrous misjudgments by Ehud Olmert, but an informed observer in Israel has just sent this to me:
I was down on the Gaza border yesterday, which is very interesting. I was observing the first big offensive against Hamas, which is testing the waters. Please note that everything Olmert says must be taken with reserve, and not as indicative of the majority view. For example, there are a lot of key people here arguing for cutting off Gaza with the absolute minimum. There is no decision on letting in a PLA brigade (actually an understrength battalion with no combat experience) or arming Fatah. I thought Olmert was a fool for the way he handled the Washington press conference, but that was typical Olmert. The new chief of staff is good–and has made some very tough statements as well as preparing for a war with Hizballah, Syria, or Hamas–and Barak is no fool.
We are not as suicidal as some people seem to think. Of course it is true that the opportunity to explain why both Fatah and Hamas are bad was wasted. But people here are not so naive. And the assumption that Fatah might well collapse means that we should not be seen as responsible for it. Look at what Hani al-Hassan said! I know him and if he does not stand up for Fatah they are really doomed.