Last night the two outgoing leaders of America and Israel met for the last time in their official capacities.
Mr. Olmert met with the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, and the Vice President before spending an hour in a working meeting prior to their private dinner in the White House.
I thought that President Bush gave a very nice word from the Oval Office about Israel's Prime Minister. He said;
“I am pleased to welcome my friend, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, back to the Oval Office. And I thank you for bringing your wife to have dinner tonight with Laura and me. I'm looking forward to it.
We've been through a lot together during our time in office. We strongly believe that Israel will benefit by having a Palestinian State, a democracy on her border that works for peace. And, Prime Minister, that vision is alive because of you. And I thank you for your steadfast support for peace.
And it's not easy. It's not easy to try to change the paradigm, and I understand that. But one thing is for certain — you've kept your word. And in international politics, that's important. And I want to thank you for the friendship, and thank you for your vision. And I just want you to know that I believe that vision is alive and needs to be worked on.
And again, I welcome you. Appreciate you coming.”
The Israeli Prime Minister said in part;
“Mr. President, on behalf of the people of Israel, I want to thank you. The importance of your leadership is greatly appreciated in our country. And I'm sure that when the history books will be written, the contributions that you made to the safety and security of many people will be greatly appreciated.”
These were words of two allies, two men who began their terms with public popularity, but saw that popularity erode away, partially because of the decisions they took in office.
Leadership is usually not easy, and here we see two men who have definitely had their share of tough issues to deal with – now saying good-bye to each other, their countries, and the influence they have had.
They teamed up to deliver to their peoples, but fell short in sealing the deal. No doubt from their words expressed they wish they had the chance.