Site Meter Yehudi Yerushalmi: Dr Aaron Lerner on Amona

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dr Aaron Lerner on Amona


Were the buildings "ticking bombs"

Israel Television Channel One Mabbat evening news reported that
100,000 attended the rally that had been organized over the course of two
days. This is a phenomenal success given both the time and the possible
chilling effect of fear of police violence.

For some reason, the bulk of the coverage has not focused on a very
straightforward issue: the Yesha Council put its reputation on the line
when it offered to commit to move or demolish the buildings within two weeks
in order to avoid a clash. This proposal constituted a major and dramatic
concession on the part of the settler community - something that the Yesha
Council leadership were able to offer only after long and painful
discussions with the people at Amona. The buildings at Amona were hardly
"ticking bombs" that had to be demolished within hours. So the very harsh
questions remains for the Olmert team to answer: even if you thought that
Yesha Council would not "deliver the goods", why did you deny them the
chance? Why, despite all the spins to the media that you want to work with
"moderate" Yesha leaders, did you send them back empty handed?

In the absence of any other explanation for the critical need to demolish
the buildings within hours rather than 14 days, one is only left with a
simple explanation: Olmert's polls found Kadima lost seats for the
compromise in Hebron earlier that week. His political advisors projected an
even greater drop in the polls if he "compromised" at Amona and postponed
the demolition for two weeks.


Thursday, February 2, 2006
Weekly Commentary: Breaking bones for Kadima victory?

Aaron Lerner Date: 2 February 2006

There is no denying the logic behind the advice that acting prime minister
Ehud Olmert's campaign advisors no doubt gave him to mark the formal opening
of the Kadima Party's election campaign by breaking the bones of protesters
at Amona.

After all, overnight polling certainly would have shown that many potential
Kadima voters were disappointed with the outcome in the Hebron market
affair - with the Jews evacuating on their own volition as part of an
understanding (confirmed by the IDF and denied by AG Mazuz) that other Jews
can be expected to replace them in the buildings in a month or two.

Heavily covered bone breaking no-nonsense "law enforcement" at Amona more
than makes up for Hebron. Accepting the Yesha Council's proposal that they
themselves would either re-locate or demolish the buildings within two weeks
would have meant much more than a lost photo-op: it could have meant a drop
of several percentage points in the polls for Kadima.

And to make matters worse for the Kadima campaign team, accepting the Yesha
Council's proposal would have given the Yesha Council more credibility in
the eyes of the protesters - thus increasing the possibility that they would
be also able to successfully broker other evacuations - thus denying the
Kadima campaign team the bone breaking law enforcement imagery they sought
not only at Amona but at the other locations slated for action before the

The numbers definitely favored confrontation over peaceful resolution.

But with Kadima enjoying a huge lead in the polls was it really necessary
for Mr. Olmert to put his campaign's interests ahead of those of the nation?

Is it really so critical that Kadima polls 43 seats instead of 39?

Perhaps Mr. Olmert's campaign advisors can't be faulted for wanting to
maximize Kadima's victory at the polls at any cost, but that doesn't excuse
Ehud Olmert for accepting their advice.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730