November 18, 2007

“Ben Gurion – do you read me?”

Last week Bibi Netanyahu joined Mayor Uri Lupolianski and other legislators at a Jerusalem solidarity rally on the site of King David’s ancient palace. They called for the nation to oppose Olmert’s plans to surrender parts of Jerusalem and strategic homeland territories to the non-existent leadership of the non-existent Palestinian nation. They called for a new ‘Coalition for Jerusalem’.

“A nation which, for two thousand and five hundred years, has faithfully adhered to the vow made by the first exiles by the waters of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem, will never agree to be separated from Jerusalem. Jewish Jerusalem will never accept alien rule after thousands of its youngsters liberated their historic homeland for the third time, redeeming Jerusalem from destruction and vandalism”.

Just imagine these words of a former prime minister, standing on the very foundations of the royal house of David, in the 40th year of its liberation as our Jewish capital city. Words spoken with the freedom of total sovereignty and security control paid for in the blood of its young soldiers.

Alas it is not so.

These words were indeed spoken by a former prime minister, but not Netanyahu and not last week.

These are the bold words of David Ben Gurion spoken nearly 60 years ago at a time when he had no inkling that, within two decades, Israel would recapture Jerusalem in such spectacular style. This was a speech Ben Gurion made to a sitting of the First Knesset in December 1949 when, after the War of Independence, the United Nations was debating the ‘internationalization’ of holy sites in Jerusalem, which was then under Jordanian rule.

How ironic that today happens to be Ben Gurion Day and Ehud Olmert has had to postpone the usual Sunday morning cabinet meeting in order to travel down to the Negev to speak at the celebratory events in the old man’s home town of Sde Boker.

That cabinet meeting was to have discussed the release of further terrorists to appease Mahmoud Abbas and kick-start Condi Rice’s Annapolis conference. Both Olmert and Rice are in this for their own personal reasons. Olmert:
to divert the nation’s attention from his reputation as the most corrupt and inept leader of the Jewish State. Rice: to salvage something from her lackluster performance as Secretary of State and her disservice to a well-meaning president.

Where Ben Gurion spoke from a battle-worn Tel Aviv with words of defiance, Olmert speaks from a secure and flourishing Jerusalem stronghold with words of capitulation.

As I write these lines, Ehud Olmert will doubtless be gushing with platitudes over Ben Gurion’s leadership and vision from a podium in Sde Boker. But his very appearance there must surely represent the most awful disgrace to the memory of the old man and his legacy.

But, like most things in Israel, it will all be forgotten the next day, when the cabinet meets ‘to discuss and approve’ the latest prisoner release. Do you think there is a chance that someone at the table will ask: “… and what about our own boys, Shalit, Regev and Goldwasser?”

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