Friday, December 28, 2007

Campaign promises

Puttering around in my archives yesterday, I came across a pointer to this item, posted at IMRA back in January, 2003.

Monday, January 6, 2003
Labor Campaign manager Vilnai: I disagree with Mitzna on policy
Aaron Lerner Date: 6 January 2002

Matan Vilnai, who is serving as the Labor Party's campaign manager, stunned Channel 2 Election Magazine host Gabi Gazit this afternoon when he declared that he disagreed with Mitzna on policy and that the Labor Party. Vilnai went on to say that Labor has yet to formally accept Mitzna's program ofunilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip to be followed by unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank if a withdrawal can't be negotiated with the Palestinians.

Vilnai noted he opposed Mitzna's program and expected the Labor Party to decide on this matter later. Vilnai added that he hoped his position would be accepted by the Party.

A startled Gazit pointed out to Vilnai that elections are being held in a few weeks.

The issue came up when Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert (Likud) who was also appearing on the program warned that if Mitzna wins the elections he would unilaterally withdraw, thereby creating a situation that instead of fighting terror at the source in Palestinian cities, Israel would find itself defending itself from the Green Line.

Just three weeks later, Ariel Sharon, with Olmert at his side, handily lead the Likud to victory in those elections over the Labor party under Mitzna. One of the key factors credited for Sharon's success was his adamant rejection of Mitzna's "unilateral withdrawal" plan. But by November, 2003, Olmert was already floating the "disengagement" agenda and in December Sharon officially signed on himself.

Stranger than fiction but more or less par for the course. And something to keep in mind during this season of presidential campaign rhetoric. George Herbert Walker Bush asked us to read his lips but raised taxes anyway. His son repeatedly promised that one of his first acts as president would be to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. We know how that turned out.

Caveat emptor.