Via the Jerusalem Post:
Peretz accuses Barak of playing 'Rambo'
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wasted no time in replacing Defense Minister Amir Peretz with new Labor chairman Ehud Barak, passing Barak's appointment in a telephone vote of Labor ministers on Friday afternoon.
Peretz was outraged that Olmert and Barak were so quick to replace him. He told Olmert in a conversation on Friday that the telephone vote took him by surprise and that Barak violated a promise to him that the handover in the Defense Ministry would be coordinated in a respectful manner by the two of them.
"Why is Barak burning to join the government while the prime minister is away?" Peretz told Olmert, according to a source close to him. "It's not as if Barak is Rambo coming to save us. So why is [his appointment] being handled so hastily and disrespectfully?"
And here's a possible answer to that question:
ISRAEL’s new defence minister Ehud Barak is planning an attack on Gaza within weeks to crush the Hamas militants who have seized power there.
According to senior Israeli military sources, the plan calls for 20,000 troops to destroy much of Hamas’s military capability in days.
The raid would be triggered by Hamas rocket attacks against Israel or a resumption of suicide bombings.
Barak, who is expected to become defence minister tomorrow, has already demanded detailed plans to deploy two armoured divisions and an infantry division, accompanied by assault drones and F-16 jets, against Hamas.
You see, Peretz, Olmert actually does think that Barak is "Rambo coming to save us".
Meanwhile, Olmert and Bush are scheduled to meet on Tuesday - because they've both done such a bang up job (literally) of finding ways to advance the so-called "peace process", haven't they? The Palestinian people are still just pawns in their geopolitical war games and neither one of these hawkish leaders has any chance of configuring something resembling anything like "peace" as long as they're in each others' pockets.
It's ironic that they're now both talking about boosting Fatah - a corrupt, former enemy they refused to deal with when Arafat was in power. A party that was rejected by the Palestinian people in a democratically held election. You see, democracy only counts when Bush gets what he wants. The will of the actual people who vote means nothing if it does not conform to America's imperialistic interests.
Abbas swore in his emergency government on Sunday.
But in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas Islamists routed Abbas's secular Fatah forces last week, 1.5 million people faced the prospect of greater hardship and isolation, with Israel cutting back fuel supplies and local suppliers saying the coastal enclave may run out of fuel for cars and stoves within two days.
Read more about the humanitarian crisis here.
As I wrote here before, this whole coup was planned by the Bush administration. Don't just take my word for it though:
Hamas denounced the naming of the new cabinet as a "coup".
Analysts and officials said Hamas had some reason to argue that Abbas was implementing a long prepared, U.S.-backed plan to strip it of power, albeit that the loss of Gaza was a shock.
Abbas adviser and former U.S. consul Edward Abington said Washington had encouraged the president to "kick out" Hamas for a year, urging him to form an emergency government.
That's why neither Bush nor Condi did anything to promote their so-called road map. They were counting on a violent solution and made sure Abbas was well-funded in advance.
"He did not want to get into a confrontation," said Abington. But in the end, he said, "it was forced on him."
And this message is being buried in this mess:
Hamas has made conciliatory overtures, however. It still refers to Abbas as president, and says it does not want a Hamas mini-state in its 40 km (25 miles) strip of coast.
Conveniently for Olmert and the new Rambo now, they can now justify random attacks in Gaza in the coming weeks, while issuing their well-known, half-hearted apologies for the civilians they'll no doubt kill - as if more violence is the answer. When has it ever solved anything? For either side?
Meanwhile, I'm sure the Rapture Ready folks are quite excited at the news that the conflict may be expanding again - a sure sign of armageddon to them - with rockets reportedly being fired into northern Israel from Lebanon again. If Rambo has any sense whatsoever, he won't decide to produce Israel/Lebanon War: The Sequel.
There are no winners in this situation and all parties involved are corrupt and out to protect their own interests in any way they can - hardly a foundation for peace talks. This is what happens when the US keeps meddling in the ME, Israel's hawkish leaders refuse to budge, aid is cut off to people in need and violence becomes what seems to some to be the only viable solution.
The bottom line is that it's inhumane to manufacture wars. Period.
Related: Johann Hari: Israel must negotiate with Hamas