Still-PM Olmert presents resignation

Ehud Olmert has been an ineffectual lame duck in Israeli politics for over two years now. It’s possible many people have forgotten that he is still, actually, the country’s prime minister.
But he presented his resignation today, four days after his protege Tzipi Livni won the internal Likud Kadima contest for the party’s leadership.
Livni now has 42 days to wrangle enough of Israel’s other parties into a coalition that the coalition can be stable. That will take us to just before the US elections. Right now, Israel’s internal politics look provincial and not terribly important. The country doesn’t have a functioning, nationally significant pro-peace or pro-withdrawal party. The only choices are between Olmert and Livni’s Kadima Party, a center-right party that loves to engage in endless, just-for-show, negotiations with Washington tame “Palestinian” interlocutors (led by still-President Abbas) that are as unserious as they are unprincipled, and Likud, which is more plainspoken and doesn’t even bother about putting on that show.
The main significance Israeli politics might have for world politics in the coming weeks is if, as function of the country’s internal political wrangling, Olmert and/or Livni should decide they want to “look tough” and launch some kind of disastrous military adventure against Iran.
Still-President Bush should get both of them on the phone and tell them absolutely No Way!

6 thoughts on “Still-PM Olmert presents resignation”

  1. Tzipi Livni is not Ehud Olmert’s protege. In fact, she opposed the second Lebanon war and was the first to call for his resignation following that war.
    Your third paragraph (apart from the first two sentences) is entirely a statement of your own opinion. I’d say that, based on your past demonstration of any in-depth understanding of Israeli politics, that your opinion is rather flawed.

  2. Well, JES, Livni was for Olmert (and was raised up by him to be FM) before she was against him. Also, despite her seeming gutsiness when, for a brief period after the war, she called on him to step down, she never committed herself so firmly to that position that she resigned… So maybe there are a number of different interpretations of that relationship.
    But I’m more interested if you can give me evidence to counter my assessment that The country doesn’t have a functioning, nationally significant pro-peace or pro-withdrawal party. Now that is evidence I would love to see, to publish, and to rejoice in.
    My judgment was NOT intended to impugn the courage and vision of the few sturdy stalwarts in Israel, of whom you may indeed be one, who continue to work hard for a principled pro-peace, pro-withdrawal policy. But I wanted to note– and of course I do this with huge sadness– that at this point such people and the small networks they compose fall far short of constituting a “functioning, nationally significant” party, or movement, or anything.

  3. Sure, she also held a variety of cabinet positions (five, to be exact), prior to her appointment as Foreign Minister by Ehud Olmert. This was largely the result of her being selected as number three in the Kadima list, rather than due to her being a “protege” of Olmert’s. (If anything, both she and Olmert were protege’s of Sharon.)
    Whether she backed up her calls for Olmert’s resignation (or her warnings against escalating the war) with actions is, I believe, irrelevant.
    As to refuting your assertion (and that’s precisely what it is) that “[t]he country doesn’t have a functioning, nationally significant pro-peace or pro-withdrawal party”, that statement is so loaded with biased terms as to be meaningless. I could, for example, argue that Kadima is, itself such a party, as it’s platform is “pro-peace” and the party was founded mainly to facilitate the disengagement and to open negotiations with the Palestinian leadership. Labour is also such a party and, although it is currently seen as dropping to third place, it is still “functioning” and “nationally significant”. Even Meretz could be “nationally significant” given Israel’s dynamic coalition system.
    At any rate, I might ask you for evidence that your assertion is accurate. For example, that Kadima “loves to engage in endless, just-for-show, negotiations”. I doubt that you are any more privy to the substance of those negotiations than am I, and I really don’t see any evidence on your part that they are “just-for-show”.

  4. The evidence of the “just for show” nature of the “negotiations” includes the continued building of the apartheid wall, the accelerating settlement construction, the failure to permanenetly remove any of the most unlawful of the unlawful settlements, the continued killing,arrest and incarceration of Palestinians, the incresingly pervasive nature of the roadblocks, the continuing ghettoization of Palestinian communities, the sadistic starving and isolating of the residents of Gaza, the “training” and arming of select Fatah thugs, and on and on. Watch what they do, not what they say.

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