Sunday, September 7, 2008

Olmert's Last Gasp

Haaretz announced today that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is finally being indicted for corruption charges. Olmert has been under investigation for suspicion of bribery since early May of this year.

Last month, when the bribery investigation reached critical mass, Olmert agreed to step down as soon as an election for leadership of the Kadima party was held. The two front runners for the party are Tzipi Livni, a politician on par with Obama in that she has great potential but has not been tested, and Shaul Mofaz, a man Palestinian leaders said would "derail the peace process."

Two weeks ago, Livni agreed to release 200 Palestinian prisoners in a show of good faith to faciliate peace negotiations.

And today, in one of his last gasp efforts to leave a meaningful legacy, Olmert proposed to prepare for the eventual evacuation of Israeli settlers from the West Bank.

He wasn't saying they should actually evacuate. He's just saying they should be prepared. An ounce of prevention or what have you.

But Mofaz made his opposition to the proposal known right away:
"The bill weakens the position of Israel in all future negotiations and I will not lend my hand to it," said Mofaz, a frontrunner in this month's Kadima leadership battle.
Note that Olmert suggested that the government should prepare for the evacuation of settlers living east of the security fence, not settlers living east of the green line, otherwise known as the pre-1967 border.

Nevertheless, suggesting that Israelis be evacuated from anywhere in the West Bank is not an advisable action for any Israeli politician whose retirement isn't already imminent. The last Israeli politician who made formal land concessions to the Palestinians was assasinated.

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