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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kadima to commit collective suicide?

Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert's Kadima Achora party has apparently decided to emulate their collective suicide 'strategy' for the country. Kadima has decided not to hold a primary because 'there is not enough interest' and to go down with the crooked Prime Minister who leads it. As a result, you can mark next Wednesday, June 18, on your calendars as the day Israel's current government might finally fall.
The process of initiating a Kadima primary to overthrow Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been halted due to a lack of support in the party, MK Tzahi Hanegbi, who heads Kadima's steering committee, said Monday.

Hanegbi had intended to convene the committee and the Kadima faction Wednesday to discuss advancing the party's primary, due to the demands of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni [Kadima. CiJ] and Defense Minister Ehud Barak [Labor. CiJ].

But he decided not to proceed with the process due to the opposition to advancing the primary of the overwhelming majority of the Kadima faction and three party leadership candidates other than Livni: Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit.

"The primaries have been frozen," Hanegbi said. "We will have to wait until after the [June 18] vote on the bill to disperse the Knesset, which if it passes would make there be more sense in starting the primary process."

Hanegbi will meet Tuesday with Olmert, who is expected to tell him that he will not give his required authorization to initiate a primary.

Olmert will also convene his party's ministers, who are expected to unite around him, with the exception of Livni.

"Olmert does not intend to fight against the efforts [to remove him] or join them," a source close to the prime minister said. "He saw what the three ministers [who are declared candidates] said and he will take their views into account."

Kadima officials loyal to Livni said she had not given up her fight to initiate primaries and that she had received a different impression than Hanegbi from Kadima MKs, whom she expects to join her in the effort to unseat Olmert as soon as possible. Dichter, for instance, had not decided as of Monday night which side to take.

Labor secretary-general Eitan Cabel said Kadima's behavior would result in Labor uniting with the opposition to bring down Olmert's government. He said he would coordinate strategy with Shas to bring down Olmert without allowing ministers from either party to be fired.

"If Olmert fires our ministers, that's the fastest way to an election," Cabel said. "We would vote no-confidence and Olmert and his government would fall immediately."

In an interview with Yediot Aharonot published Sunday, Mofaz said that if elected Kadima chairman, he would form a new government and delay elections until their scheduled date of November 2010.

"I hope there won't be a general election," Mofaz said. "All the parties in the coalition are against early elections. I can unite all the components of the coalition and lead them together in the government until November 2010. A new government headed by me will be formed this year. I have a relationship with all the parties. With my dialogue, it will be possible to form a wider coalition than the current one."
Olmert has been backing Mofaz as his successor if Olmert were to resign. But if there are no primaries, Mofaz cannot be 'elected Kadima chairman' until after the government falls, which would mean he would have to run against Olmert. Olmert has said that he will not resign and is pointing towards the July 18 cross-examination of Morris (Moshe) Talansky, the chief witness against him, as providing his vindication.

And while all of you heard Mofaz's statements on Iran last week, which ought to please Israel's right, perhaps some of you missed his statements on the possible invasion of Gaza:
In the interview, Mofaz made clear that it did not matter to him what the world said about Israel, especially on the issue of responding to rocket attacks on Sderot. He said he recommended targeting the heads of Hamas immediately.

"We always take into account what the goyim will say," Mofaz said. "I don't care what the goyim will say. I care about the security of the citizens of Israel. Do you think the pictures on CNN matter to me as much as the children and their fears and the residents of Sderot and Ashkelon who have abandoned their homes? No way!"
But the right is unlikely to forget that Mofaz is an 'expert' on people who have abandoned their homes. As Defense Minister under Ariel Sharon, he oversaw the expulsion of the Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip and fired IDF Chief of Staff Moshe ("Boogie") Yaalon for opposing the expulsion. While the Likud may be willing to support Mofaz, the rest of the right won't.

But let's see if the government really falls. Part of the story here is a game of brinkmanship. The Knesset is so corrupt to its core, that Kadima finds it hard to believe that Labor will abandon the government just because Olmert is more corrupt than the rest of them. If Kadima's MK's decide that Labor really means it and is really going to bring down the government, many of those at the bottom of the list - who would be likely to lose their seats in the Knesset if there are new elections - would probably rise up and vote to throw Olmert out. As to Shas, don't hold your breaths waiting for them to leave the coalition over something as small as corruption. They probably have the highest per capita conviction rate in the Knesset.


At 6:23 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

We've seen how serious Ehud Barak was about his ultimatum. He didn't enforce it. Kadima is not going to lose any sleep over Barak's idle threats against Ehud Olmert.


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