Polls in Israel show Olmert's approval numbers are worse than those of President Bush. More than 60 percent of Israelis want Olmert to resign. He survived three "no confidence" votes in the Knesset last week. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is three times as popular as any potential rival.
Last week, Netanyahu delivered a powerful speech to Israel's Parliament in which he said, "The state of Israel needs better leadership. Š Peace can never be achieved by unilateral steps. Š The time for a reassessment of our policy has come. We should look at the situation without any illusion and restore to the state of Israel its might, deterrent power and above all our self-respect."
When Israelis feel threatened they have always looked to the right and this time they appear eager to again turn rightward. The London Sunday Times quoted a Tel Aviv lawyer: "We're fed up with the Arabs and the chances of reaching peace with them. We gave them too many chances. They don't want us here, period. That's why I think Netanyahu and his political approach is the right one."
If there is to be another war and so soon, Israelis are asking themselves who they would rather have leading their nation: a wishful thinker like Ehud Olmert, who, according to the government report on the Lebanon war, "made up his mind hastily, despite the fact that no detailed military plan was submitted to him and without asking for one," or Benjamin Netanyahu, who understands better than most that Israel won't get a second chance in an all-out war.
It's a good bet that Olmert's days are numbered and Netanyahu's return as prime minister is drawing near. It had better come quickly, because if Ambassador Meridor's worst-case scenario comes true, not only summer is just around the corner; the next war may be as well.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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