Sunday, April 15, 2007

Whose government is this?

By Gideon Levy

"A call should be made to the Consumers Council: This is a case of wholesale fraud. In the sea of thieves, embezzlers and crooks around us, this is the largest deceit of all. The majority of Israeli citizens voted for a centrist government, perhaps even a bit left of center, and received one of the most extreme right-wing governments in the history of Israel.

The 28,000 participants in a recent survey by the BBC World Service in 27 countries ranked Olmert's Israel, together with Ahmadinejad's Iran, as the countries having the most negative influence on the world. The current government is largely responsible for the fact that Israelis do not care that they are viewed this way. In a country where people are quick to sue a travel agency for a vacation package that did not meet their expectations, the masses of voters who fell victim to the great fraud remain silent.

The settlers establish another illegal outpost in Hebron, and most Israelis are not interested in the most criminal settlement of them all. And what does their government say? A front is already forming to oppose the evacuation. The Arab League extends its hand for peace and the 52 percent of Israelis who have heard of the Saudi initiative say it could constitute a basis for negotiation. And what does their government say? It makes a sour face and quashes the chance. There are signs of a chance to liberate Gilad Shalit and create a new atmosphere with the Palestinians; 45 percent of Israelis are in favor of releasing prisoners "with blood on their hands" and only 36 percent are opposed. And their government? It categorically rejects the Palestinian proposal. The majority of Israelis tell the pollsters that they are in favor of establishing a Palestinian state and evacuating settlements. And what is their government doing to realize the aspirations of its voters? Not a thing. It has been a long time since such a wide disparity has existed between the views of the public and the government, a disparity that makes democracy look like a bandage......."

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