Even though Prime Minister-designate Olmert this week advanced by two years to 2008 the date for the withdrawal of about 70,000 Israeli settlers from much of the West Bank (thereby clearing the way for a Palestinian state on contiguous land) many Israeli observers questioned whether he could carry it out.
Jerusalem Now the horse trading begins.
As Ehud Olmert seeks to assemble a coalition government this week following his Kadima Party's poorer-than-expected victory of just 28 seats in Tuesday's election, he will not have the free hand he expected just a month ago when polls were showing Kadima winning 40 or more seats in the 120-seat Knesset.
The Israeli assault on a Palestinian jail in Jericho Tuesday to arrest the alleged mastermind of the 2001 assassination of an Israeli minister has increased the political standing of Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just two weeks before elections, according to Israeli analysts.They also said the siege foiled Hamas' effort to portray itself as the liberator of Palestinian prisoners.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s future could lie in the hands of a millionaire Long Island rabbi and businessman who is reportedly set to testify as early as this week that he gave bribes to Olmert while Olmert served as Jerusalem’s mayor from 1999 to 2002.
While many of us have focused our attention in recent days on the presidential campaign and the frightening economic meltdown at home, Israel has been undergoing yet another political and diplomatic upheaval, further splitting the electorate and making Tzipi Livni’s job of putting together a ruling coalition that much more difficult.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to Washington this week to meet with President George W. Bush and address the AIPAC convention afforded him a brief respite from the scandals back home that some analysts believe he may weather for months to come.
A defiant Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to fly to Washington next week for the annual AIPAC convention, brushing aside demands from within his coalition that he step down after a Long Island rabbi testified in court that he gave Olmert at least $150,000 in cash over 13 years.
“He’s planning to be there and to speak,” said Mark Regev, Olmert’s spokesman.
The summit conference of Mediterranean leaders in Paris this weekend will offer Syrian President Bashar Assad and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a chance to advance peace talks. The two men will be in the same room, among a group of 40 leaders, for the first time. And though no direct meeting is scheduled between Assad and Olmert, there is speculation that it might take place.
Analysts in Israel disagree, though, over whether that would be a good thing.
Jewish leaders were scrambling this week to assess the potential impact of Thursday's assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and the likelihood the nuclear-armed Islamic state would plunge even deeper into chaos.
The killing was another blow to Bush administration efforts to stabilize Pakistan and reinforce its shaky status as an ally in the war on terrorism. The assassination was also a setback to U.S. efforts to push President Pervez Musharraf toward democratic governance.
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