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May 7, 2007: Politics

May 7, 2007

Yesterday I wrote about reports that Barak had struck a deal with Olmert in which he agreed to save the coalition. There was talk about his assuming the defense ministry, but Barak aides were saying this wasn’t the case.

Well, today we’re seeing more of same. The word is that Barak has promised to keep the Labor party from pulling out of the coalition for the short run. This fascinated me, as many in Labor are anxious to pull out. What, precisely, is the clout that Barak has? Seems the answer may be money, scads of money. He doesn’t have much else going for him. We’ll see… On Sunday the Central Committee will meet to decide on this.

And still the Barak camp is insisting that he wouldn’t serve in an Olmert government after Winograd. If that is truly the case, then he would support pulling out were he to win the leadership race.

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Livni? She’s a piece of work all together. After her challenge to Olmert, and rumors that he would dump her for saying he should resign, he changed his mind and decided to keep her. They had a meeting and all was just peachy keen. Right? Today, Livni challenged Olmert again, without mentioning his name, at a press conference. What she did, actually, was criticize the fact that no meeting has been called to discuss the threat of Gaza. She didn’t like it, she said, that she hears about experts’ opinions via the media. How long will Olmert tolerate this?

Explained Livni, "I am [in the government] for a reason and a purpose and the purpose is the diplomatic process. I plan to develop processes."

Oi vey! Move this lady out. She’s dangerous.

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And Olmert? He met with his Kadima faction today and outlined government plans. In the coming months, he said, he will seek to revive peace talks with the Palestinians.

This man should have been gone yesterday. You can’t get much more lame duck than he is, and yet he’s planning for months ahead.

The two of them — the prime minister-foreign minister duo — are unreal. I still get the feeling that they’re in an alternate universe. With all of the increased violence, the growing radicalization and instability of the PA, how can they be thinking diplomatic interaction and peace talks?

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Shimon Peres has announced that he will run for the presidency, even if there is a closed ballot. His supporters had tried to change the voting rules, so that there would be an open ballot — the assumption being that this would enhance party discipline.

I’m still hoping Rivlin will make it.

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Three no-confidence votes — advanced by National Union/NRP, Meretz, and Likud — all failed to pass in the Knesset today. What I found most interesting about this vote, however, is that discipline was not maintained in the Labor party and several individual members decided to abstain. Even some Labor members who had already voiced the opinion that Olmert should resign simply abstained.

Here is the politics of the situation: If Olmert were to resign, then the process I described previously would ensue: the acting president would select an MK — very possibly from Kadima — to put together a new coalition. This Labor would happily live with.

But if there is a no-confidence vote, the country goes to elections. And Labor is terrified of elections because Likud would almost certainly come in. So, Labor members who want to see Olmert out register only a tepid protest by abstaining. They are not about to support a no-confidence vote that would bring in the right wing.

Olmert is playing the "Bibi" card as his trump, saying that people opposed to him will end up with Netanyahu.

Sigh…

Note: the situation might play out a bit differently if Labor were to pull out and make the coalition collapse.

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The Kassams keep coming. Two people in Shaar Hanegev were wounded at a gas station yesterday, and this morning a rocket hit next to a gan — a day care center — in Sderot, thankfully before the children arrived. Defense officials say there will be further pinpoint attacks inside of Gaza, but no ground operation. My sense of it is that the IDF is itching to hit hard but is being held back (and boy is this déjà vu). Peretz and Olmert both went on record as saying that we can’t have restraint forever and I’m sure that will deter the terrorists.

An Israeli Air Force jet fired a missile into Gaza today at a car in northern Gaza that was filled with Kassams and carrying terrorists planning to launch the rockets. The terrorists got out, one sustaining wounds, before the car exploded. Islamic Jihad said their people in that car were on a "holy mission."

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Return to Syria. Yesterday I wrote about this terrorist-supporting state amassing weaponry at its border with Israel. Today I read about Syria’s desire to restart peace negotiations. I have used the word schizoid with regard to this situation, and so it seems. But there’s an answer: Head of the National Security Council today told the Knesset that Damascus’s desire for negotiations stems from a desire to improve its standing in the international community. It’s the process they’re after, which would take pressure off of them, not peace itself.

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"Guiliani, McCain say they would defend Israel from Iran," declared the headline on a Jerusalem Post story yesterday. Sounds promising. But inside I read this: "Asked what would be the ‘trip wire’ in a decision to strike Iran, Arizona Senator John McCain replied: ‘If they acquire those weapons and our intelligence tells us this is a real threat to the State of Israel and other states in the region.’"

Wrong answer. If this is the best he would do, it’s fairly worthless. Once Iran has those nuclear weapons, it’s too late.

Guiliani’s answer seemed better: "The…use of military force against Iran would be dangerous…The only thing worse would be Iran being a nuclear power."

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This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/5/7/may-7-2007-politics.html

 

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