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Sunday, June 15, 2008

'He may be a crook, but at least he's our crook'

Deputy Prime Minister and convicted sex offender Chaim Ramon blasted Defense Minister Ehud Barak for trying to force the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert.
In an interview with Channel 2, Ramon said, "We must prevent the elections tragedy that the Labor Party leader is bringing about. We cannot allow Benjamin Netanyahu to get elected."

Ramon said that Barak is repeating the same mistake that brought on a rightist victory in 2001 at the end of his tenure as prime minister, and added that the defense minister's call for Olmert to step down will lead to the same result now. [That 'rightist victory' was Ariel Sharon. Some 'rightist' he turned out to be. CiJ]

Ramon's comments come one day after Barak told activists in his Labor Party on Friday that the current power struggle within the ruling Kadima Party was sabotaging the cease-fire negotiations between Israel and the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

"If this government wasn't overshadowed by the Kadima primaries, a truce agreement with Hamas would have been achieved a long time ago," the Labor Party chairman said in a speech at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Arutz Sheva adds:
[Ramon] was speaking on Channel 2's "Meet the Press," in an interview taped Friday and aired Saturday. He said that he is currently doing all he can to make sure that Ehud Olmert remains as head of the government, and barring that, to have him replaced by "whomever Kadima selects to head it." Despite this, he estimated that elections would take place within the next year.


In the interview, he asked repeatedly to give Olmert a chance to present his version of the relationship with businessman Morris (Moshe)Talansky and to let his lawyers cross-examine Talansky before passing judgment on him.
It was Olmert and his lawyers who chose to delay Talansky's cross-examination. The court was willing to let them cross-examine him on the spot. And Talansky was here again for a day last week for his grandson's wedding (or at least he was supposed to be - luckily for him, if he was here he managed to hide from the media). But it's Olmert's lawyers and Olmert himself who have been dragging this out for as long as possible, and Olmert has no one but himself to blame for that.
Ramon also attacked Barak for his statement that the Kadima primaries were delaying implementation of a "calm" in Gaza. Ramon called this statement "chutzpah" because Barak himself was the one who brought about the need for holding primaries. Ramon also blasted Barak for wanting the calm: "The Prime Minister is holding discussions and arguments on the subject, and the person who is not consenting and agreeing to decide upon a military operation is the Defense Minister. He is the one who is acting resolutely and forcefully to achieve a "calm" and recognize Hamas," Ramon said, adding that "'a "calm"' is a euphemism for de facto recognition of a Hamas state, surrendering to a terror state."

Ramon also used the term "Hamastan" – [I've used that term once or twice on this blog, haven't I? CiJ] coined by opponents of the Disengagement to describe the dangerous consequences it would have – in referring to Gaza.
Although I disagree with Barak on the 'calm' (I believe that the IDF should go back into Gaza), Barak's calculation on the elections is fairly straightforward and he's acting in his party's best interests. Olmert is done. He seems determined to take Kadima down with him to keep Livni from becoming Prime Minister. At this point, Barak can look like Olmert's defender (as Ramon is doing) or he can try to cut his losses by trying to force Olmert out and maybe even have a shot of being defense minister under Netanyahu until he can build up more political strength. Kadima is going down. From Barak's perspective, there is no reason to take Labor down with it.

And you wonder why nearly all Israelis think their government is corrupt? (For the record, the JPost pointed out this weekend that the survey I just linked was taken before Morris Talansky's testimony about giving cash-filled envelopes to Olmert. Ouch).


At 6:50 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

That's the excuse for Ehud Olmert's record of inaction and incompetence. At least he's good at being a crook where he falls down on the arts of governance.


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