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|The Fallouts of Olmert’s Resignation||| Print ||
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
The Fallouts of Olmert’s Resignation:The Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams who oversees Middle East affairs for the White House said during a meeting with Jewish communal leaders in New York on 23 July 2008 that “even if any agreement is reached in these talks, it will be between only Livni and Qurei, not between the Israeli and Palestinian governments.” He said also that Ehud Olmert did not “have the political weight to sell such an agreement to the Israeli public.” For her part, the White House Spokesperson Dana Perino in her July 28 press briefing: “We’ve always said that we wouldn’t be able to get a final peace deal in terms of everything being resolved.” She added: “America’s goal is to outline all the steps that they would have to take to move forward.” It has become clear from the statements of the officials in the US administration that an agreement between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides is unlikely to be concluded within what is left of Ehud Olmert’s term in office. These statements were followed by Ehud Olmert’s announcement on 30 July about his decision not to stand in the Kadima party elections scheduled for 17 September and to resign from his post as Prime Minister as soon as the ruling party chooses a new leader. Olmert’s announcement coincided with the visit of Shaul Mofaz, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak to the United States where they met with US administration officials. It seems that America deems it unlikely to achieve an initial agreement of what is known as a shelf agreement while Olmert is facing corruption charges and with his popularity plummeting to a record low, despite the fact that the talks held between the two sides since the Annapolis Conference achieved a telling progress; Olmert mentioned this in his speech by saying: “We are closer than ever to concrete understandings that will likely serve as a basis for agreements in our dialogues with both the Palestinians and the Syrians.”
However, the issue of al-Quds and the refugees remains unsolved; neither the Palestinian nor the Israeli sides can make concessions. This was best expressed by the former head of the Israeli military intelligence Shlomo Gazit, who wrote in the Maariv paper: “The two main problems between us and the Palestinians are Jerusalem and the refugees. We will be requested to compromise on Jerusalem and they will be requested to compromise on the right of return.” Hence, it has been noted in the past few months the reopening of the Jerusalem file with the escalatory operations such as the attack on Jewish school and the first and second bulldozer incidents among others. All the executors of those operations were holders of the blue identity card, i.e. from al-Quds, and such as the announcement by the Israeli intelligence services about the arrest of two cells affiliated to al-Qaeeda whose operatives were from al-Quds. This led to calls from the Israeli side for the building of a wall between the two sides of the city, the latest being by Shimon Peres who called for the building of a wall in al-Quds and a bridge to enable the residents of East al-Quds to go to work in the “Israeli” side. However, the decision to build a wall in al-Quds could only be made if violent acts and spectacular operations were undertaken and only if the executors were from the city.
As for the Israeli side, it is likely that a government of national unity or an emergency government will be formed just after the elections of the Kadima party scheduled for 17 September, because any resolution to be issued stipulating the separation of parts of East al-Quds from West al-Quds would require a majority in the cabinet; and it would natural for the separation to be on a security basis rather than a political one. As for the pretext of forming an emergency government or a government of national unity, it would be the threat to the “Israeli” existence, especially from Iran. Hence, we will note an escalation in the war of words between the two sides in the coming weeks that gives the impression that the region is on the brink of war.
12th Shaaban 1429h
14th August 2008