After a rather quiet summer week with nothing much occurring, apart from the usual reports of car accidents and a mafia gang killing an innocent mother caught in the crossfire on Bat Yam Beach, south of Tel Aviv, PM Ehud Olmert made his dramatic announcement of resigning and not standing for re-election as leader of the Kadima Party. This did not come as any surprise to us. He is suspected of very severe financial irregularities which could result in a criminal indictment. He has been receiving money in envelopes from Maurice Talansky, a
The suspicions of corruption against Olmert have weakened his premiership and it is a pity that he had not resigned earlier allowing the air to be cleared even if it means new elections. There are two serious contesters for the leadership of the Kadima Party, Shaul Mofaz and Tzippi Livni. The latter seems to be more popular. However, it is unlikely that either candidate, whoever is chosen to replace Olmert in the Kadima Party, will be able to form a coalition. It seems that new general elections are just around the corner.
On the one hand, Olmert has been weakened so much by the criminal suspicions against him that he is unable to function in order to make the bold decisions required to negotiate a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict while on the other hand, the Israeli electorate will move further to the right in its voting patterns and Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, the Likud leader, will more than like be Israel’s next prime minister. This will be disastrous for the peace negotiations with the Palestinians and the chances of initiating direct negotiations with
Much of the financial irregularities occurred when Olmert was mayor of
The biggest dangers facing Israel are the collapse of the peace talks with Syria even though they are indirect under Turkish mediation and the negotiations with the Palestinians despite the fact that the negotiations with the latter are only partial as Hamas has been excluded because of their inability to come to terms with Israel’s existence and cease their terror activities which they have put on hold at the moment under the cease-fire agreement.
Meanwhile, under Olmert there had been tentative movements towards some form of peace negotiations with the Palestinians even though it may not be representative of all the Palestinians because
We have no reason to believe that new elections will bring in a new government more amenable to peace with the Palestinians. Rather the contrary is possible. The Likud’s agenda is peace with the
This would be disastrous for
According to B’tselem, the
Palestinians and foreign peace activists hold regular and mostly non-violent protests against the confiscation by
Vast swaths of Palestinian farms, orchards and groves have been seized by
What will happen after Olmert is anybody’s guess. There is no room for much optimism as the swing of the electorate will be towards the right and this means further human rights abuses against the Palestinian population.