Last week I noted the oddity of Condoleezza Rice voting to abstain from a Security Council resolution on Gaza that she helped to draft. According to reports at the time, Rice reversed her position after she received a telephone call from President Bush.
Well, now it seems that President Bush himself received a telephone call — from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert — that made him reconsider supporting a Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire. We know this because Ehud Olmert boasted about how he “shamed” Rice in political rally in southern Israel yesterday. On Prospects for Peace Daniel Levy (a former Israeli peace negotiator) offers his thoughts.
The first thing to say is that a ceasefire is vital and the U.N. resolution if it helps deliver an end to the violence, rocket-fire and the human suffering, the opening of the blockade on Gaza, and the prevention of weapon smuggling, then it is an important contribution worthy of support. Secondly, Secretary Rice would do best to respond to this act of chutzpah by using her remaining week in office to actually get that resolution implemented and deliver a meaningful ceasefire package – she can still do it and go out on a higher note than having been “Colin Powell”-ed by her own president at the U.N. and dissed by a foreign leader. But the real point is this: what Olmert said is more than just mind-boggling chutzpah – it is deeply irresponsible, insulting and will be a boomerang for Israel.
Steve Clemons also has a smart take on what this means.