Defense Minister Ehud Barak is reportedly in favor of a week-long “humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip to curb the growing international criticism about the war’s toll on civilians. Even Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who spoke with pride at how the military had deliberately “gone wild” in the Gaza Strip seems to support a ceasefire. These are the heads of the two largest parties in Israel’s coalition government… so why isn’t anything happening?
The answer, it seems, is outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is so determined to keep the war going that he is refusing to convene his usual political-security cabinet meeting to prevent any discussion of ending the war.
The cabinet is the ultimate decider on the question of halting the Israeli attacks, but Olmert’s role in setting the schedule for cabinet meetings allows him to delay any potential meeting more or less indefinitely. If Olmert wants to continue the war for the rest of his administration, which it seems he does, there seems to be little recourse for the rest of the cabinet to stop him.