Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel says he didn’t expect to arrange a final agreement with Palestinian leaders that would meet the needs of both countries for at least 20-30 years. “You don’t have a mandate from the Jewish people to make these concessions.” Olmert noted that he was talking with moderate Palestinian leaders such as President Mahmoud Abbas and that it would take considerable time to achieve peace.
Israel’s tragedy is having a weak leader such as Olmert at an important juncture in their history. He is unable to grasp the meaning of “leadership.” A leader inspires his nation, a leader puts forth new ideas, a leader ventures onto untrod paths, a leader places his nation’s interests before his political needs. Neither Palestinians nor the Arab world will wait 20-30 years while ineffectual people like Olmert diddle daddle around fearing to take steps for peace. Franklin Roosevelt in WWII asked the impossible of his nation, John F. Kennedy promised to land a man on the moon before the idea was even assured. All Olmert can mumble is for Israel to live in fear for another 20-30 years.