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Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Olmert with PA's Abbas on Monday
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Sa'ar - Olmert surrendering
Photo: Ofer Amram
Edery - 'Situation must change'
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Police say will appeal court decision to lift gag order on Olmert case
After turbulent weekend of ambiguous reports, officials vow scope (and validity) of new investigation against premier will soon come to light. Meanwhile police threaten to contest any move to end media blackout as Knesset Opposition finally takes swing at Olmert

Even should the courts hand down a ruling to lift the gag order prohibiting the disclosure of details pertaining to the new investigation launched against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, police officials vowed on Monday that they would appeal against such a move.

 

Maintaining a media blackout, they said, is imperative. Sources within the ranks of law enforcement have said a significant development in the case is imminent - one that may yet determine whether the affair is as grave as some in the political and judicial arenas have hinted, or whether, as Olmert has studiously reiterated, the surreptitious brouhaha will be exposed as incapable of holding any water.

 

Olmert was questioned under caution for over an hour on Friday. At present time the only information cleared for publication merely confirms the new allegations concern events that took place prior to his ascension to the premiership.

 

While Olmert has tried to keep up appearances of 'business as usual,' but has cancelled several scheduled media appearances ahead of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.

 

Opposition: Olmert does not speak for Israel

Monday saw a significant number of politicians breaking their silence about the affair, as many had chosen to remain mum as the events unfolded over the course of the weekend.

 

But at an emergency Knesset session convened earlier in the day, the Opposition seemed far more willing to lash out against the prime minister.

 

"It is intolerable to think that between investigation to investigation, Olmert can simply press ahead with surrendering our vital assets," said Deputy Speaker Gideon Sa'ar.

 

Sa'ar, who also serves as chairman of the Likud faction, said that the focus of the public's concern should not be the new investigation – "the details of which will become clear within days" – but rather the clandestine negotiations Olmert is holding with the Palestinians. These, he said, "may result in irreversible damage."

 

Sa'ar turned to "friends of Israel in the United States and elsewhere in the world" and said the concessions made by Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni behind closed doors "are binding to no one" as the current leadership does not have the support of the public, which he said would be proven in the next elections.

 

Minister Jacob Edery (Kadima) came to Olmert's defense, reminding the plenum that past premiers have held negotiations while under investigation. He denied the leadership was selling out Israeli interests.

 

"We have our positions and there are things we won't compromise on. But he who thinks the current situation is beneficial to the State of Israel, let him come here now and say that to the people," said Edery from the podium.

 

Aviram Zino and Amnon Meranda contributed to this report

 

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