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Monday, April 30, 2007

Livni's attempted putsch

As the sun rises on Winograd day in Israel, both Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post are reporting that we should not expect to see the politicians oust Ehud K. Olmert as a result of the release of the preliminary report. The reason is that the Kadima Achora party - who brought us corrupt politicians like Ehud Olmert, Avraham Hirshenson and Haim Ramon - still wants to remain in power. They are trying to time the elections for the advantage of Foreign Minister Tzipi Feigele Livni, who has managed to keep her nose clean of corruption and her public persona free of blame for the disastrous UN Security Council resolution 1701. But as I have noted before, Livni herself would be a disaster for the State of Israel, and therefore it will fall to ordinary Israelis to oust this cabal of corruption as soon as possible. This is from the Haaretz article linked above:
The prime minister is liable to survive the draft report not just because of the confusion and helplessness pervading Kadima, but also because of the alternative: Benjamin Netanyahu. The Likud chairman is Olmert's life-saving drug.

No one in Kadima - or the coalition at large, at this stage - wants to shake up the system and bring about elections in which Netanyahu would be voted in as prime minister. [The coalition currently has 78 seats out of 120. I find it astounding that even Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas will not work to precipitate elections. CiJ] Even Ehud Barak and Ami Ayalon, the leading candidates in the Labor primaries, won't take such a responsibility upon themselves. As long as Olmert survives, they will be with him - and if not him, then with Livni or Shimon Peres. Paradoxically, Barak and Ayalon prefer Olmert; it's better to be a strong defense minister serving under a weak prime minister.

If the Kadima revolt has indeed ended before it even began, that leaves the public at the center of attention. Will "the street" force the politicians to do something? There are such high expectations of a wave of public demonstrations that anything less than a mass protest of the kind held in the summer of 1982 will be deemed apathetic. The rally planned for Thursday at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv is meant to light the torch that will burn Olmert's seat out from under him. But here, too, there are problems.

Sources connected to the rally have complained about difficulties in getting people to attend and in raising money. [Those of you who have not spent time in Israel recently cannot imagine how deeply depressed and disgusted the public is over the entire situation. You may be surprised that people don't want to attend. I am not. CiJ] In the meantime, the two most prominent politicians planning to participate in the event are Netanyahu - after all, it's basically his party - and Meretz-Yachad chairman Yossi Beilin. Many of Beilin's colleagues oppose his participation alongside Netanyahu. [I despise Beilin's politics, but he is a 'true believer' in what he says and I believe he will be there regardless of what his colleagues think. He is one of the least corrupt politicians in the country. CiJ]

Barak is also leaning toward not attending; he doesn't see himself as a sidekick. On Monday or Tuesday he is due to consult with the ministers who support him. Even if he doesn't show up at the demonstration, he'll make his position known about the report, about those responsible for the war, and most importantly: about what he plans to do if he wins the May 28 primaries. [Barak won't attend. Unfortunately, he's not likely to be called to task for leading the flight from Lebanon in 2000 either. They don't call him Ehud Barach for nothing. CiJ].
For those who are wondering why I accuse Livni of attempting a putsch in my title, have a look at this from the JPost article linked above:
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni raised eyebrows in a meeting of Kadima ministers on Sunday when she remained silent while every other minister advised Olmert on how to handle the report.

Livni has recently invited many Kadima MKs and mayors to her office for private discussions about the party's future.

In the meetings, she emphasized she did not intend to topple the prime minister but that she was qualified to take over the reins of the party and the country if Olmert would resign.

Officials in Olmert's camp admitted that there was "frustration" inside the Prime Minister's Office with Livni's silence and the spate of political meetings she has held in recent days.

"She's a politician, she is part of Kadima and she believes in the party," a political source said of Livni. "She is working to strengthen Kadima and to help her position in the party."

The source said the reason for Livni's busy political schedule was not Winograd but the fact that her new political adviser, Uri Kedar, started his job on April 1. Since then, Livni has had meetings described as "very positive" with many of Kadima's most powerful figures, including the head of the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, Karmiel Mayor Adi Eldar.

A senior Kadima official said that due in part to those meetings, if Olmert left office, Livni would already have a majority in the faction to replace him.

The official said that contrary to many reports, the party's rules would not prevent her from becoming prime minister while seeking the Kadima chairmanship.

There is no mechanism in Kadima's charter for overthrowing the party's leader, so the charter would have to be changed for Olmert to be toppled from within. If Olmert resigns, an election would be held among party members within 60 days. During that time, Kadima would be led by a temporary head, someone not running for the party leadership.
And for those of you wondering what would happen to the country when Olmert loses his position as Prime Minister, the Post has that answer too:
Meanwhile, Acting President Dalia Itzik ['Acting' in place of Moshe Katzav - Israel's 'first religious President' - who apparently has some difficulties in keeping his pants on in his office. CiJ] would have a week to meet with faction heads and hear their recommendations for Olmert's replacement as prime minister, while Olmert would remain prime minister of a transitional government.

In such a scenario, the Kadima faction could recommend Livni and she would would be eligible to run for Kadima head because she would be prime minister but not the acting party chairman.
And you wonder why Israelis are too depressed to take to the streets and overthrow the government?


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