Ehud Olmert this week became Israel’s first former prime minister to head to prison. Here is a simple explanation of why, what legal troubles still await him, and the crimes for which he’ll never pay. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is going to jail — albeit only for 18 months. The Supreme Court shortened Olmert’s six sentence in a long-awaited appeal this week. The sentence was for a bribery conviction in a scandal referred to in the Israeli media as Holyland Affair. But that is far from the end of the plentiful legal sagas that forced the sitting prime…Read More... | 1 Comment
If the Left wants to win elections, it cannot continue to hide its true principles. It must speak clearly and openly about the most pressing issue facing Israel: the occupation. By Amir Segal Isaac Herzog will not be Israel's next prime minister, and Benjamin Netanyahu overwhelmingly won this election. Now is the time when leftists most often express remorse, admit their mistakes and look for someone to blame for their defeat. The analysis on the loss ranges from long-winded explanations regarding Netanyahu's success to listing every single failure of Herzog Zionist Camp. It has become socially acceptable to blame the…Read More... | 11 Comments
Netanyahu is no hero, and the tragedy is our own. Prime Minister Netanyahu fired Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon on Tuesday, after the latter criticized Netanyahu for holding fire, and even called him "a lefty," which is probably the worst thing you can say to someone in the current political atmosphere. Sacking Danon is not a risky move (Danon is a far-right politician with little parliamentary support), but firing him helped Netanyahu present himself as “moderate” and “restrained” leader. Yossi Verter says similar things in Haaretz, as does Ron Ben-Yishai in Ynet; even I wrote a few good things about this aspect of Bibi's…Read More... | 14 Comments
Not even Ben-Gurion would be able to rally the political support necessary to displace masses of settlers as long as there is no price to be paid for the occupation. So how much longer can liberal Zionists sit and watch the status quo remain static? If instead of trying to persuade Israel to change, two-state supporters started holding it responsible for refusing to change, it could have a jarring psychological impact on the country and its leaders. Now that the Kerry peace talks have failed and everyone has given up hoping that Netanyahu will change, what's the new plan for…Read More... | 19 Comments
The former prime minister was sentenced to six years in prison. Olmert will appeal to the Supreme Court, but his return to power seems unlikely. Prior to the last elections, Ehud Olmert was still mulling his return to politics. The long deliberation ended with nothing, as the circumstances didn’t seem right: his trials were still under way, his protégé Yair Lapid entered the race, and most importantly – the polls weren’t kind to him. Without a team of strong centrist candidates around him, Olmert didn’t stand a chance. The public simply doesn't like Olmert. He has a small group of centrist followers…Read More...
During his premiership, Ehud Olmert was responsible for two of the most horrific military operations of the past decade. More than 1,000 Lebanese, a third of them civilians, and 165 Israelis, a quarter of them civilians, were killed in the Second Lebanon War. In the wake of the war, the IDF developed the Dahiya doctrine, by which the army deliberately targets civilian infrastructure as a means of inflicting suffering on the civilian population in "enemy cities." Not three yearswent by and Olmert sent the army to implement the new doctrine in Gaza. Operation Cast Lead took the lives of nearly…Read More...
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday morning to six years in prison on bribery charges in the biggest corruption scandal in Israel's history. Olmert was convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for expediting the permit process for the Holyland real estate development while he was mayor of the city, years before his premiership. The sentencing comes 10 years after the state began its investigation. Olmert, who was acquitted of similar charges in a different case, had held out hope for a return to politics if he were acquitted in this case, too. Olmert is planning on appealing the court's decision. Olmert…Read More... | 35 Comments
Raviv Drucker, a prominent journalist who co-hosts a well-known television magazine program on Channel 10, wrote a tough blog post in which he takes some of Israel's best known journalists to task for presenting a completely erroneous interpretation of the Palestinian position regarding a negotiated agreement for a two-state solution. I have translated his post with permission. By Raviv Drucker Ari Shavit has written another one of his fabulous treatises in his exemplary prose style that is, as his articles often are, completely detached from the facts. According to Shavit, Mahmoud Abbas is an intransigent negotiator who fails every time he…Read More... | 17 Comments
New feature: A selection of Larry Derfner's sociopolitical outbursts on Facebook (and one email) for the week ending Saturday, April 5. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR US LATELY? FB reaction to commenter who asks, “What have the Palestinians done to advance peace recently?" (Sunday, March 30): Close, daily security cooperation with the IDF and Shin Bet for 10 full years. They've arrested thousands of Hamasniks. It's a key reason why terror is so low, and the only reason why you don't see massive anti-Israeli demonstrations. Palestinian forces are policing the Palestinian population areas - the cities, the villages, the…Read More... | 46 Comments
Tom Friedman writes from Tel Aviv: The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines), with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley. The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will…Read More... | 12 Comments
An in-depth look at the historical and political developments that shaped Israel’s current African asylum-seeker crisis — and one way to resolve it that meets Israel’s own needs while doing right by those who most need its protection. African asylum seekers in Israel have brought their struggle into the limelight in recent weeks. Through acts of civil disobedience, public protests and a mass labor strike, the mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals are attempting to shift the public discourse surrounding their presence in the country, gain access to a credible process in which they can seek asylum, and challenge a new…Read More... | 11 Comments
Israel's former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who spent the last eight years comatose after a series of strokes, died on Saturday, January 11. He was 85 years old. A general, politician, statesman, and to many a notorious war criminal, Ariel Sharon was known to combine dogged personal ambition with strategic acumen and ruthlessness, which together shaped one of the most controversial and remarkable careers in Israeli political history. Born in the community of Kfar Malal in 1928, Sharon joined the Haganah in the mid 1940s, and first saw action in the run-up to the 1948 War, when his unit staged…Read More... | 11 Comments
If Netanyahu doesn't agree to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 border, the Palestinians' consent to negotiate with him will amount to surrender - which, until he proves differently, is what Bibi wants. The consensus seems to be that any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are better than none, so Kerry is being congratulated for getting the two sides to agree to meet in Washington to see if they can then agree on a starting point for negotiations. A big step in the right direction, goes the mainstream view. And it will be just that - if Netanyahu agrees to…Read More... | 31 Comments
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