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Olmert is Finished

May 28, 2008

After following the slow sinking of Olmert and with the latest round of inquiries, the numbers and the reports are plain to see. He is a cooked goose, and his only action at this time is to step down.
One report with mulitple sources: 
The Lekarev Report
'You Can't Stay in Office' 

"You can't stay in office," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this afternoon, as the two met for about an hour at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on the backdrop of the recent political crisis. 
Olmert summoned Barak to his office for the urgent meeting in light of the increasing calls for his resignation after Morris Talansky's testimony yesterday in the police investigation against the prime minister.

A senior Labor minister said earlier that the party must initiate a move for a leave of absence by the prime minister in order to allow the State to function.
 
"The problems of a sick woman of a certain person cannot shake an entire country for a month and a half, and who knows for how long," the minister said, addressing the expected delay in the legal proceedings due to key witness Morris Talanky's desire to fly back to the United States to see his ill wife.
 
"The State Prosecutor's Office must speed up its work. The problems Israel is facing are too serious to leave the situation as it is," the minister said.

We are, at this hour, awaiting a press conference in which Barak is expected to issue an ultimatum to Olmert:  resign or Labor will leave the government.  If Labor quits, the government will fall and new elections will be held.
 
More Reactions to Yesterday's Testimony

Though Olmert's aides continue to say that the Prime Minister is adamant that he will not resign, it is clear that politicians across party lines are pretty well agreed that Olmert has to go.

A top Labor Party member, Minister Ami Ayalon, said Olmert must resign immediately.  Another top Labor member, Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, said today, "I don't rule out new elections, but I think we should wait to hear what Barak has to say. I'm sure he will speak clearly."

"Given the public situation of today," Ben-Eliezer said, "the Prime Minister must get up and give explanations to the nation.  This is something that cannot be ignored.  We are not afraid of elections even tomorrow morning, but the political and military situations demand very broad national thinking.  It is first and foremost Kadima's responsibility to decide how to react."

Labor MK Shelly Yechimovitch said that Labor can no longer grant legitimacy to Olmert by remaining in a government he leads.

Three MKs in Olmert's own Kadima party - Ze'ev Elkin, Amira Dotan, and Marina Solodkin - have called upon Olmert to step down.

"The greenbacks in Talansky's envelopes were black [with filth]," said the chairman of the Knesset caucus against corruption, MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party). "Black money bought the prime minister of Israel, and until Olmert is removed from his post, the black flag of corruption flies over the entire state of Israel." .


Prof. Amnon Rubenstein, a former Cabinet minister from the far-left Meretz party, said today that Israel had awakened to "a very sad day.  Israel is undergoing a moral and public crisis."  He called on all political leaders to abandon their lifestyles of "posh hotels" and vacations.  Rubenstein expressed his hope that Israel would "return to the days when political leaders lived modestly and in order to serve the public, not themselves."


Poll: 70% of Israelis Don't Believe Olmert
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has lost the trust of his party and more importantly, the public's trust, in the latest corruption affair under which he is being investigated.

In a survey conducted Tuesday night, after key witness Morris Talansky delivered his testimony, 70 percent of those polled said they do not believe Olmert's version that the money he received from the American businessman went only for his election campaigns.

What is even worse for him, 51 percent of his own party's voters don't believe him either.

While his attorneys moan that a cross examination hasn't yet taken place, that really doesn't matter any more. 

No cross examination, no matter how brilliant and effective it may be, will save Ehud Olmert. It will not polish his image nor remove the stench rising from the description of his relationship with Talansky. It will never return Olmert to the days before the investigation.

Publicly, Olmert is finished. There is no going back. Talansky's initial testimony Tuesday in the Jerusalem District Court will forever hover like a toxic cloud over the prime minster, wherever he goes - until he finally goes.

Press Conference: Olmert, Leave or Face Elections
The press conference we were waiting brought the ultimatum we expected.  Defense Minister Ehud Barak said "I believe Prime Minister Ehud Olmert cannot run the government and his personal affairs at the same time.  The prime minister must detach himself from the daily management of the government.  He can do so in a variety of ways, which will not be determined by us."

Asked what he would do if Olmert's ignores his stance, Barak replied that "the prime minister must act, and the Kadima party must make decisions."  He also said that Labor will force early elections if Olmert remains defiant.
 
He added that "the Labor Party will not hold a stopwatch in Kadima's face, but things have to happen as soon as possible. The State deserves stability, and therefore we must have a government in the Knesset. I am not afraid of elections. The public will decide and we will win."
 
The Labor chairman briefed his faction members on his remarks several minutes before the press conference. He told them that he would call on the prime minister to leave office.
 
Hamas: 1000 Prisoners for Schalit
Hamas is demanding the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said Tuesday.

COsama al-Mazini, who has been entrusted by Hamas to speak about the case of Schalit, said no progress has been achieved with regards to conducting a prisoner exchange between his movement and Israel.

Al-Mazini said that reports about a deal between Israel, on one hand, and Hizbullah and Hamas on the other hand, were completely untrue.

"Hamas is not part of the reported prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbullah," he said. "The contacts [over the release of Schalit] have been suspended ever since Israel rejected our demands."

Iran Refuses to Cooperate
Iran's new parliament speaker Ali Larijani warned Wednesday that Teheran could impose new limits on its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog after a critical report from the agency.

Larijani, formerly the country's top nuclear negotiator, was overwhelmingly elected as parliament speaker Wednesday. Moments later, he told parliament that a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency was "deplorable."

The unusually strongly worded report issued Monday said Iran may be withholding information needed to establish whether it tried to make nuclear weapons.

"We recommend them not to clandestinely keep passing Iran's nuclear dossier between the IAEA and 5-plus-1 group. This parliament won't allow such deception," Larijani told an open session of parliament broadcast live on state-run radio.
 
Farmers Block 'Food for Terrorists'
A large group of farmers from communities in southern Israel which have been under constant bombardment from Gaza's terror groups arrived at the Sufa border crossing and prevented the transfer of provisions into the Strip.

The farmers said they were demonstrating against Israel's policy of continuing to ship aid into Gaza while rocket attacks continue to emanate from the territory.
 
The protest seemed to resound even louder when, with the demonstration in full gear, Israeli troops operating near Sufa came under attack from Palestinian mortar shell barrages. An IDF soldier was lightly wounded in the clashes.

Shalom and blessings,
Leah


 

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