Olmert, by far the best politician around, surprised many by leaking the news that Jerusalem was to be split with the Arabs. Partitioning the eternal Jewish capital is an extremely unpopular idea among the Israeli right and left alike, and Olmert won’t expect that his despised government can drag the partitioning through the Knesset. The heavyweight Sharon barely pushed through with the Gaza disengagement, and dividing Jerusalem will be far harder. Whatever are the shortcomings of Israel Beitenu and the religious parties, they would likely quit the government before approving the partitioning of Jerusalem. The Knesset also voiced overwhelming opposition to the partition. Not least, it’s hard to imagine Olmert eager to enter Jewish history as the ruler who surrendered Jerusalem. Remember, Olmert stood against Begin and Sharon over the giveaway of the Sinai to Egypt during the Camp David capitulation.

Neither is Olmert stupid enough to imagine that the Palestinians would stop terrorism after receiving Jerusalem. He probably tested the waters to show the left that neither public opinion nor the Knesset would approve of dividing the capital. Olmert insists on adherence to the clearly expired Road Map because he knows that the Palestinians will never get past the first stage of maintaining any sort of security. To prove his point, Olmert shows the most extreme goodwill toward the Palestinian Authority: he resumed some of the tax transfers, released a small number of third-tier terrorist convicts, removed a few non-essential checkpoints, and armed the Fatah gang with weapons they could have gotten elsewhere. Israel pushes Hamas to the wall in an effort to reinstate Fatah’s rule in Gaza—and ensure the subsequent civil war between Hamas and Fatah. The excellent raid on Syria’s nuclear facilities proved Olmert a very capable leader. Netanyahu bragged about the attack on Syria; Olmert keeps his silence. Olmert is the only high-ranking politician in the world who soberly evaluated the Iranian nuclear program: a matter of a thousand Tomahawk missiles.
Now that Olmert and Livni have renounced any timetable for a peace deal with the Palestinians and announced that the partitioning of Jerusalem is not on the Annapolis agenda, the threat to Jerusalem has receded. The intermediate idea of giving away Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhood, supported by the Israeli right even down to Lieberman, is dangerous. Once the capital’s suburbs are under Palestinian control, Arabs will keep shelling Jerusalem like Sderot. Israeli retaliation will surely be stronger, but hardly sufficient. Another problem is the growing Arab population of Jerusalem, which threatens Jewish sovereignty regardless of the peace process. It makes little difference whether East Jerusalem is under Palestinian control or not under Jewish control.

The Israeli government dances the narrow line between the US, EU, and Israeli ultra-left, and the Jewish conscience is surely present even inpeople like Olmert and Livni. The government’s actions are not straightforward, but neither do they amount to clear-cut treason.
The best thing about this government is that it is too weak to publicly betray the Jews.

too bad to be true