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Abbas and Olmert in Jerusalem (Archive photo)
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Abbas sees Olmert crisis hurting peace talks
'No doubt, what's happening will leave a negative impact on negotiations,' spokesman for Palestinian president says. MK Shalom to submit bill calling for Knesset's dispersal

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas believes a political crisis in Israel that could unseat Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will hurt peace talks, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

 

"No doubt, what's happening will leave a negative impact on negotiations," Nabil Abu Rdainah said in a statement shortly after Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Olmert to step aside over corruption allegations.

 

The defense minister's statement shook Israel's political arena. Fellow Labor Knesset Member Eitan Cabel said his party must do something instead of stand on the sidelines. "In light of the recent events, we must dictate the actions rather than be dragged," he said.

 

"We must lead a move among the Israeli public and make a statement which may eventually bring us to a situation in which the Knesset's summer session is nothing more than a corridor for early elections. I already said after Winograd (report on the Second Lebanon War) that we must quit, and the recent events with the latest affair only strengthen this need."

 

Cabel's colleague, MK Danny Yatom, also said something must be done. "There is no room for an ideological statement alone. There is room for an ideological act. If Olmert doesn’t take leave of absence, Labor must leave the government."

 

Meanwhile, Knesset Member Silvan Shalom (Likud) announced his intention to submit a bill proposal to disperse the Knesset in a pre-election vote within two weeks.

 

Shalom said that “Barak’s statement reinforces the need to disperse the Knesset and hold new elections. I intend to raise a bill proposal for the Knesset’s dispersal in two weeks and believe that the bill will receive a majority following Barak’s announcement.”

 

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