Jerusalem – Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced last evening that he “intends to resign” immediately after the September primaries scheduled for his Kadima party.
Mr. Olmert’s statement did not contain one word of regret, guilt or accountability for several criminal cases pending against him. Nor did he mention accusations he badly mismanaged Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah.
He also omitted mention of how he allegedly mismanaged Israel’s ability to cope with the Hamas military threat from the south. Instead, Mr. Olmert presented himself as the victim of police persecution, and stated, quite clearly, that he would use the time left in office to continue advancing international agreements – with the Palestinian Authority and with Syria.
The timing of Mr Olmert’s announcement occurred only two hours after Israel’s parliament went into a long summer recess.
Mr Olmert will now administer the country with 108 paid advisers who remain in his service. It will be the highest number of paid advisers ever employed by an Israeli prime minister.
He will also retain a high-priced public relations firm and a team of lawyers, all at public expense, without being held accountable by any democratically elected body.
Mr. Olmert is now conducting sensitive and discrete diplomatic negotiations. The Israeli national security council and Israeli intelligence are not being briefed. Neither is Israel’s Knesset being briefed. The people in the know are limited to Mr. Olmert’s inner circle of appointed advisers.
Only a few hours before Mr. Olmert’s speech, two of Mr. Olmert’s advisers returned from secret negotiations with Syria, leaving Israel’s democratically elected legislative body and the entire Israeli security establishment in the dark.
Meanwhile, Mr Olmert has recruited dozens of diaspora Jewish organizations who will advance his foreign policy initiatives, because he is the “democratically elected” prime minister of Israel. Over the next month, Mr. Olmert has scheduled numerous appearances before Jewish organizations that advocate Mr. Olmert’s diplomatic initiatives.
The nearly two months time that Mr. Olmert has left himself until the Kadima primary will draw close to the American elections. The advantage of an Israeli altercation with Iran while George W. Bush is still president of the United States has not been lost on Mr. Olmert, who could conceivably prevail upon the powers that be in Kadima to “delay” the Kadima primary, in the interests of Israel’s national security, as set forth by Mr. Olmert, the first Kadima prime minister.
Meanwhile, in the wake of Mr. Olmert’s speech, headlines on many Internet sites in Israel prematurely reported that Mr. Olmert has resigned.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008