First to ascend the dais is Ehud Olmert. He delivers a defensive speech, summing up his tenure as prime minister as well as his political career. “Even if it happened sooner than I had hoped, and under a cloud of circumstances that are well-known, I don’t carry even a trace of bitterness, anger, or complaint,” the outgoing prime minister promises, for starters. No complaining? Is that the Olmert that we knew, or did they bring a double? This suspicion clears fairly soon, however, as Olmert confronts the press in his usual manner, albeit perhaps in subtler tones. “The multitude of slanderers by mouth and pen” apparently gave “a free propaganda trophy to the Hezbollah.” Those who criticized the Gaza war are mere “pen pushers.” To Olmert, everyone else is always wrong.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1075351.html
The problem could also be the friction that accompanied the government’s formation; two key cabinet members are suffering embarrassingly low support ratings. Netanyahu, who dreamed for a decade about returning to the Prime Minister’s Bureau, will have to work hard and fast to show he is productive. The most striking result of the Haaretz-Dialog poll, conducted under Prof. Camil Fuchs of the statistics department at Tel Aviv University, is the extent of the public’s dissatisfaction with the new government. Less than a third of those surveyed said they are satisfied with Netanyahu’s government. More than half, 54 percent, are dissatisfied with the new government.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1075358.html
“The biggest question is what will happen the day after the Egyptian president leaves office. Mubarak, who will be celebrating his 81st birthday in a few weeks, will not remain in power forever.
There is no greater Israeli fear than the rise of an Islamic regime, like that in Iran, which would transform Egypt from a tranquil neighbor into a threatening monster.”
“Likewise, it would be mistaken to think of the rise of Avigdor Lieberman and his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, as a major development or as the main source of concern for the Palestinians. Focusing on Lieberman (charitably called by the Guardian a “hardliner”) distracts the discussion from the real issues to the person of one unpleasant politician who says ignominious things others are generally unwilling to say. This logic seems to suggest that the political disappearance of Lieberman will bring about a serendipitous resolution of major problems in the Middle East. Lieberman, however, only exacerbates an already existing problem, and he cannot be easily dismissed as a marginal case of excess or abnormality of the Israeli political system.”
“680 of the central committee members voted in favor of joining the coalition, while 570 voted against. The voter turnout stood at 78 percent of the committee members.”
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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday issued an order against demolishing homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank settlement of Ofra.