It is hard to tell at this moment exactly where the momentum turned but turned it has. In a series of counter strikes worthy of a kung fu movie, Barak has pulled when the Barbarian hordes at the Gate thought he would push. As Debka.com reports this morning,
In response to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice”s demand for “meaningful” Israeli steps to ease Palestinians’ lives, defense minister Ehud Barak presented a package of concessions. The checkpoint will be removed outside Jericho. He also brought to the trilateral meeting with Rice and Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad Sunday, March 30, permission to post 600 Palestinian security officers trained in Jordan in the terrorist stronghold of Jenin. The ultimate security responsibility for counter-terrorism, Barak stressed, would remain in Israeli hands.
Barak’s willingness to make concessions caught Rice by surprise. As ArutzSheva reports,
(IsraelNN.com) Israeli diplomatic sources said Sunday that the American delegation was very surprised at the extent of Israeli concessions to the Fatah-controlled "Palestinian Authority" (PA) announced by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. However, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quick to say that they were not enough, and vowed to monitor Israel's execution of its promises.
The latest Israeli concessions to the PA in Judea and Samaria include permission for construction of two new Arab neighborhoods in the Ramallah area, with a total of 5,000 to 8,000 housing units. In addition, about 50 dirt roadblocks in Samaria will be removed, thus enabling vehicular traffic between Jenin, Tulkarm, Kalkilya and Ramallah, and the permanent checkpoint in the Rimonim area will be removed.
However, Stonewall Barak stopped here, having the impudence to tell the School Marm no to linking Jenin with Hebron. Rice thought she could sneak in the PA’s goal of linking the West Bank and Gaza by way of an end run around Jerusalem via Hebron.
Our exclusive sources report that US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice put this stipulation to prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Sunday, March 30. It was one of three she wanted implemented in the five weeks before President George W. Bush’s attendance of Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
Rice explained she was not asking for free Palestinian passage on all the West Bank’s roads - only one or two, where they could travel without running into Israeli checkpoints.
Israel’s top military commanders warned government leaders in the strongest possible terms that the US secretary’s demands if met would spell the end of their war on terror and expose Jerusalem and other Israeli cities to the waves of suicide killers their systematic efforts had been holding back. The checkpoints were a vital element of their operations to keep Israel’s heartland safe from terrorists.
The Jenin-Tarkumiyeh route, they said, was already targeted by terrorists led by Hamas for two-way smuggling between Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Removing all existing controls would present the Gaza and Jenin terror networks with the gift of a direct, unmonitored link.
Rice lost no time announcing that she would be closely watching to make sure that Israel follows through on its promises.
"We will monitor exactly what the Israelis do and the purpose is to improve the Palestinians' freedom of movement," Rice said. "We want to be much more systematic about what is promised and what is actually carried out," she added.
Oooh is she tough or what. Not only is she sounding like a broken record, but she is clearly not listening to what Israelis are telling her. Israel, with or without Olmert, has drawn the line. This is more that you asked and more, Israel is telling Ms. Rice. You deliver a peaceful partner who will not kill our children in their school houses. If Condi remembers the bombings in Birmingham and how it changed her life; but, does she, like Israelis, remember the eight boys killed in a parochial school last month.This morning as Israelis return to work, search the net, and wade through the even greater fog from the Israeli MSM. I am in Jerusalem, sitting with the faculty in the library preparing for classes. We all read collectively with glee that Barak’s personal assessment of these events. His own recitation of Ms. Rice's lessons are very clear.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak indicated Sunday night that despite revious statements to the contrary, he may decide to pull Labor out of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government due to Olmert's "accountability" for Israel's failure to attain its objectives during the Second Lebanon War.
"The prime minister has not been cleared of all accountability," Barak
said during a meeting with bereaved parents of soldiers who fell during the war. The parents met Barak in his office and discussed with him the results of the war and its implications on the remainder of Olmert's term.
Barak also indicated that the possibility of his party quitting the government was still on the agenda, claiming that the government would not live out its term. "Elections in two or three years are not a possibility," he assured the parents.
Bayla the Librarian claps with joy, “Oh good. Elections. We all deserve a day off.”
Netanyahu is still the strongest actor on the stage, with Barak in second place. It would appear that Rice’s puppet, McOlmert is in his last act, and her peace pastiche is about to go “snap, crackle, pop”
Passover is less than four weeks away. On the night of the Passover dinner, all Jews recall the days of terror and bondage living in the land of bondage, under the heel of Pharoah. At the conclusion of the ritual meal, every stands and shouts--Next Year in Jerusalem.
Barak is preaching to the choir.