Photo: Dafna Mekel
Roni Sofer
Photo: Dafna Mekel

Desperate to make history

Olmert slammed for ‘pathetic’ attempt to leave his mark at any price

Olmert’s effort to leave a mark is Pathetic. Critical negotiations with Syria two months before he’s set to leave the Prime Minister’s Office? A shelf agreement, or whatever you want to call it, with the Palestinians at this time? And with whom? Mahmoud Abbas…? The one who lost Gaza to Hamas? What does he plan to do? It’s simply sad.”


The above remarks were uttered last week by a minister in Kadima who has been watching the prime minister’s latest moves with astonishment – and this minister isn’t alone. In fact, there is no government member – with the possible exception of Haim Ramon – who thinks that Olmert can advance diplomatic moves in the brief time he has left in office.


There is no minister who believes these moves would be backed by the Knesset, and opinion is divided regarding the government vote as well. The possible successors in Kadima have expressed their displeasure with hasty moves, which may leave them with a problematic diplomatic legacy. Some of them said it openly, while most of them are whining behind closed doors.


Livni, Mofaz, Sheetrit, and Dichter are very concerned about last-minute obligations by Olmert that are only meant to leave his mark in the annals of Israeli history.


‘Unique case’

However, five Knesset members and public figures from the Right decided to do something and turned to the attorney general, so that he would curb this diplomatic franticness. They sought an opinion on what the law says about a government whose head has announced that he will resign in a few weeks. The five rightist figures asked Mazuz to restrain Olmert’s diplomatic moves.


Mazuz was cautious: On the one hand, he made it clear that this was not a transition government. On the other hand, he emphasized that the prime minister and government must show restraint in this changeover period, which he characterized as an “unusual and unique case” whereby the “current government is expected to soon become a transition government.”


Yet Olmert has no intention of stopping. For the time being, there is nobody out there who can stop him. The fifth round of talks with the Syrians has merely been postponed and will be held before the holidays, Olmert’s associates say. They are also determined to secure an agreement with the Palestinians. “Even if those two things don’t materialize, Olmert will still be leaving his peace-making efforts for the next generations,” one associate says.


פרסום ראשון: 09.07.08, 18:26
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