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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Majority of Olmert's own party opposes 'significant withdrawal' from Golan

Fifteen MK's from Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert's Kadima Achora party - a majority of the party's Knesset delegation - oppose any 'significant withdrawal' from the Golan Heights under any circumstances.
The results of an internal party poll to this effect were published on the Kadima party website. The site emphasizes that the results are "fluid," as they are dependent on the precise nature of an agreement that might be signed with Syria.

Prime Minister Olmert has not denied reports of last week that he transmitted a message to Syria stating he would be willing to give up the entire Golan in exchange for peace with the North Korean ally.

The party's 29 MKs were asked whether they would support a "significant withdrawal" from the Golan Heights. This term was defined as either the uprooting of all or most of the 33 Jewish towns there, or their transfer to Syrian sovereignty with a measure of Israeli autonomy.

Fifteen of the 29 MKs said they are totally against a "significant withdrawal." These included ten members of the Knesset Golan lobby - Ruchama Avraham Belila, Eli Aflalo, Tzachi HaNegbi, Yoel Hasson, David Tal, Marina Solodkin, Ze'ev Elkin, Ronit Tirosh, Michael Nudelman, and Shai Hermesh - as well as Yaakov Edry, Sha'ul Mofaz, Avraham Hirschson, Ze'ev Boim, and Otniel Shneller. This number includes four Cabinet ministers (Mofaz, Boim, Edry and Belila).

Transportation Minister Mofaz told reporters in Washington on Monday that surrendering the Golan to the Iranian ally would mean giving Iran control of the high ground overlooking much of northern Israel. The former Defense Minister, who met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, is visiting Washington as part of the American-Israeli strategic dialogue that takes place every six months.

The position of two Kadima MKs - Minister Gideon Ezra and Amira Dotan - is not clear. Ezra has gone on record as saying that there is no point in talking with Syria at present.

Twelve Kadima MKs say they favor a "significant withdrawal" from the Golan in exchange for peace with the country the US terms a "terrorism sponsor." They are Olmert, Ministers Livni, Dichter, Sheetrit, Ramon, and Bar-On, and Shlomo Mula, Dalia Itzik, Menachem Ben-Sasson, Yitzchak Ben-Yisrael, Yochanan Plesner, and Majli Whbee.
While that sounds like good news, don't think it's the end of the story.
It is noteworthy that when Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert first floated the idea of a Disengagement from Gush Katif and northern Shomron, many of their Likud party members opposed it. As time passed and political circumstances changed, however, their opinions did as well.
Sort of. A majority of the Likud's membership (the party, not the MK's) voted against the Gush Katif expulsion in a referendum by which Sharon promised to abide. Sharon lied and Jews died instead.


At 8:36 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

It points up the fact there is no real accountability in Israel's political system. A Prime Minister can pretty much defy his own party the way Ariel Sharon did over Gush Katif and not pay the price. Ehud Olmert is betting that if there's a peace agreement with the Syrians, domestic opposition to a withdrawal from the Golan may well wither and collapse. So the fact a majority of Kadima opposes "significsnt withdrawal" from the Golan at the moment means nothing.


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