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Olmert ruling: On princes and minions

Ehud Olmert, one of the erstwhile “princes” of the old Likud, was convicted today of breach of trust and acquitted on more serious charges of corruption in two cases, Rishon Tours and the Talansky money envelopes. Somehow, this seems apt: breach of trust is a term that might well be used to sum up the entire legacy of a prime minister who was elected as a ‘centrist’ committed to the ‘peace process’ or at least (perish the thought) to unilateral withdrawals, and proceeded to squander thousands of lives – Palestinians, Israelis, Lebanese – in two atrociously unnecessary wars.

Fortunately, we don’t yet have to deal with the  scenario of Israel’s worst-ever prime minister returning from the netherworld: The most serious and complicated case against Olmert, that of the Holyland apartment complex in Jerusalem, is still outstanding, and even if acquitted, Olmert is held in such contempt by most Israelis (largely for his disastrous mismanagement of the Second Lebanon War), the chances of him returning to power are blissfully slim.

But there’s one detail of the ruling I’d like to turn your attention to: While Olmert was acquitted, his principal assistant and secretary, Shula Zaken, who supposedly served as the go-between in the alleged bribe money transfers, was convicted. Among other things, of fraud. Yet the person on whose behalf she committed fraud, walks scot-free. Jupiter and oxen much?

At any rate, this is as good a day as any to reflect on the two most visible monuments to Olmert’s legacy: The separation wall and the Holyland project. The thousands of people who would have been alive if it wasn’t for him – Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese – are, as usual, off-frame.

Photo: Dimi Reider

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  • COMMENTS

    1. XYZ

      It is very important to keep one thing in mind regarding these cases of important elected officials…the charges brought against them having NOTHING to do with “fighting corruption” or “ensuring justice”. THEY ARE POLITICAL HARRASSMENT, pure and simple. That is not to say they are innocent, but many others have done the same things and are not charged, because those in the so-called “law and order mafia” happen to like those people. The charges are brought on the basis of “get something on him” and the investigators go through their records, hoping to find something on them. (As the NKVD used to say during the period of the Stalin terror in the USSR-”you give me the man, and I will give you the charges!”). I predicted to a friend of mine this morning, before they announced the verdict that he will be aquitted on 2 and convicted on one, and that is exactly what happened.
      There are many precedents for these prosecutions. Start with Rabin and the “illegal” bank account in 1977 when he was forced to step down as head of the Labor Party in favor of Peres. Then there was Aharon Abuhatzera, un “uppity” Sefardi, who, like Olmert was charged with a shopping list of crimes, and like Olmert, he was acquitted on most but convicted on a relatively minor one. Then there was Aryeh Deri…exactly the same thing (another “uppity” Sefardi), then there was Yitzhak Mordechai (another Sefardi) …they got him on rape even though the compainant tried to withdraw the charges. Rape is harder to prove which means he was very honest in his business dealings because they didn’t find anything to charge him with there), then there was Ezer Weizman, accused of receiving bribes…he was President and Shimon Peres wanted that job very badly, like he wanted Rabin’s in 1977. Weizman was not charged even though he got 10 times as much as Deri, but not being Sefardi they satisfied themselves with his resignation. Then there was Omri Sharon, whose being charged increased his enthusiasm for destroying Gush Katif so they would go easy on him. After that there was Katzav , another Sefardi, who had the gall to defeat Peres for President after Weizman resigned, but Peres still wanted the job so they found “Aleph” to accuse him of rape (again, he must be very clean in his financial dealings, otherwise they would have used that instead). Then there was Haim Ramon, who unlike the others was a born and bred MAPAI man, so that would normally make him immune to prosecution, but he fell out with Dorit Beinish so they decided to go after him and found a girl who was COERCED and threatened into bringing charges against him even though she said she didn’t want to. Finally there was Olmert.
      Note, BTW, that almost all are ex-right wingers.
      Stalin and the NKVD would be proud of this continuation of their legacy of show trials.

      Reply to Comment
    2. XYZ

      Let me make it clear about Olmert. I despise the man and would love nothing more than to see him behind bars, but this is because of his role in destroying Gush Katif and telling the police to bash in the heads of young girls and boys leaving some people crippled for life at Amona because his political advisors told him it would get him votes in the upcoming election. But this doesn’t change my view of the show trial conducted against him.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      @XYZ, I suggest you to write to Judge Edmond Levy. He will certainly validate each and every one of your delusions.

      Reply to Comment
    4. XYZ

      Philos-
      I have laid out the historical record here. What do you think is incorrect about it? Most people in the country are quite aware of this and would agree with what I have pointed out here.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Philos

      @XYZ, if you truly believe that most people in Israel think that Moshe Katsav isn’t a serial rapist, or that Deri was not a criminal, or that Israeli politics is not riven all the way through with corruption; then you’re more deluded than I initially suspected… watch out, though, “they” might know you’re on to them

      Reply to Comment
    6. XYZ

      Philos-
      You clearly didn’t read what I wrote. I quote “that is not to say that they are innocent, but many others have done the same things and were not charged”. What I am pointing out is SELECTIVE PROSECUTION on political grounds. Was Katzav any worse than Moshe Dayan? I heard an interview with a woman who as a young soldier stated that all the female soldiers were terrified of getting into a car with General Ariel Sharon. Deri didn’t take any more than others did, but being a religious Sefardi who betrayed his promise to make Shimon Peres Prime Ministger (note how his name keeps popping up!) during the “targil hamasriach” (the “stinking maneuver”) he was just asking for it. As I recall, the investigation against Deri was opened 2 or 3 days after Peres failed to form a government including SHAS. You figure it out.
      BTW-regarding Katzav, I ask you this question: Why was the State Prosecutors Office willing to make a plea bargain in which the rape charge was dropped and which he foolishly didn’t accept?

      Reply to Comment
    7. I would actually like to hear the full details of the crime that Shula Zaken was convicted of and how it relates to the crime Olmert was acquitted of. I’ve looked in several press articles but haven’t found these details.

      Can someone knowledgeable oblige?

      Reply to Comment

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