Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday that he had no intention of providing maximal protection to all residents of Gaza periphery communities. "A country cannot protect itself ad infinitum, because there would be no end to it."
Olmert was addressing the Caesarea Conference.
The prime minister added that stepping up protection would be "just as [ineffective] as the demand to solve Sderot's Kassam problem by wiping Beit Hanun and other towns in Gaza off the face of the earth.
The prime minister appealed to the residents of the Gaza periphery: "In the short term we cannot supply you with all of the personal security that we would like to provide, because such protection would draw from expensive resources that are needed for other critical security needs."
Olmert also addressed the media, asking that they "not encourage, even mutely, demands of citizens that no normal government could accept." He added that "life in Israel entails a certain security risk, and anyone who chooses to live in the Jewish state is accepting this risk." And yet, "the risk in Israel is lower than the risk threatening Jews in other parts of the world."
The prime minister addressed the issue of the three soldiers still being held by Israel's enemies. "We will balance the wish to return Gilad, Udi and Eldad with the need to protect Israel's crucial interests." Regarding the recording of Gilad Schalit released by Hamas, Olmert said that "terrorism tries to subdue Israel by attacking the innocent, while taking advantage of its sensitivity to the lives of its citizens."
A group of social activists held a demonstration in front of the hotel hosting the conference. There were a number of confrontations between demonstrators and police.
Somebody, anybody, please buy Olmert a retirement condo. This is the most outrageous statement that any leader of any free country could ever say. Israel, as a modern, democratic state is finished if Olmert is not forced to step down after refusing to fulfill his primary responsibility as head of government to defend the citizenry. If Olmert's words are allowed to stand, then calls to secede from the state must also stand. Israel must, as it's primary obligation, defend her population or get out of the nation business.
A comment on the Jpost.com blog to this report reads:
38. Provide for the common defense
Olmert is a bumbling fool. His statement that he cannot defend Sderot is a complete travesty - and he couches it in terms that his tolerance of this attacks are the actions of a "normal" govt? What US President would tolerate an attack on remote "Hawaii"? This is a day that will live in infamy. The first job of a govt is to provide for the common defense. Olmert fails at this and is incompetent to be the PM. He must go.
Thanks Evan, you are quite correct.
Evan is an American and understands that while the US Constitution is a legal document and contract for the government of the US, it is also a great work of political philosophy.
“ We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ”
With great regret as a Jew, I must conclude that in the yesodos and interpretation of the philosophy of 18th century liberal political thought, Israel has failed as a state. Those responsibilities assigned to the federal government by the people, penned most likely by Madison, are not priorities of the government of Israel. The final straw is Olmert's refusal to exercise military power to secure border authority for those people who live in rocket range of Gaza. Not only is his policy an abrogation of the social contract obligating a duly appointed leader to provide "common defense" but it is most immoral to continue taxing these very same citizens and obligating them in other burdensome regulation when their live's are not considered a national priority. No taxation without representation.
Compared of course to their fellow citizens uprooted from Gush Katif, I suppose their being "permitted" to remain in S'derot for instance is the better alternative. The best alternative of course, would be providing for their own defense. I suppose Jews can make home made rockets too. If the government will not step in and order the military to defend sovereign Israeli territory, morality dictates the people must not be prevented from and indeed are obligated to) establish their own balance of power and defend their right to live without threat of rocket attack from over the border. Technically speaking, the government should foot the bill for their doing so.
Now, you must realize that this is far-fetched by now. However, nation-states which are established as "free" countries have two-way obligations; the federal government to the people and the people to the federal government. Olmert was not elected to look pretty and give speeches. It is his obligation as head of government to defend Israel. While I understand it is not fair to judge Israel based upon American standards, I am drawn to the Oath of Office of the Presidency of the United States:
(Article II, Section 1, Clause 8)
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. (so help me G-d).
Preserve, protect, defend.... This is the essence of leadership. This is what makes and keeps free nations, free. The American founding fathers understood the obligation that free people and free nations share. Olmert does not. Israel may not, but had better learn very quickly.