What Olmert’s resignation means for peace
Can a lame duck jumpstart the Mideast peace process?
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has resigned, said The Jerusalem Post in an editorial, but “it may be a long good-bye.” He will probably stay until his Kadima Party picks a successor in a Sept. 17 primary. And he doesn’t intend to be a caretaker—he says he plans to try to make a last-ditch effort to lay the groundwork for a peace deal with the Palestinians.
That would make a “mockery” of the peace process, said Bettina Marx in Germany’s Deutsche Welle. “Neither Olmert nor Abbas can rely on the majority of their voters. Both no longer have a mandate to make decisions with far-reaching effects.” So, for now, the hope for progress is on hold.
This isn’t about peace, said Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren in The Wall Street Journal. It might just be a shifty attempt by Olmert to “prolong his stay in office.” And it might work. Olmert could be back if his Kadima successor fails to form a stable coalition, and Olmert can make enough progress in peace negotiations with either Palestinian or Syrian leaders to get “the all-powerful Israeli media” on his side.
The reality is what Olmert does now won’t change the big picture, said Michael Hirsh in Newsweek. Isreal still has to figure out how to revive faltering peace talks with the Palestinians and, above all, whether to take military action against Iran over its nuclear program. “It doesn't much matter who the next prime minister is—or even the next U.S. president: The choices that Israel makes will likely be the same.”