Olmert Attacks Netanyahu, State Prosecutor in TV Interview
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government as well as the State Prosecutor for appealing the verdict and light sentence imposed on Olmert for his conviction of breach of trust.
Olmert, who spoke on Channel 2 News’ “Meet the Press” program, responded to allegations by the Prime Minister’s Office that he has not missed an opportunity to attack Netanyahu in recent months.
Olmert recently accused Netanyahu of “aggressively intervening” in the American elections, on the orders of American multimillionaire Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of both Netanyahu and Romney, who funneled millions of dollars to the latter's presidential campaign.
He also recently blamed Netanyahu of strengthening Hamas, following Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas's seemingly moderate statements on an interview with Israeli television.
"This is not a respectable claim,” said Olmert of the remarks made by the Prime Minister’s Office. "I make my opinion heard in Israel and abroad. That's what I have to do and I always do it with due respect to the prime minister."
At the same time, Olmert quoted remarks made by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the Saban Forum this past week. According to Olmert, Emanuel said that "Netanyahu slapped Obama in the face" in his decision to promote building the in the E1 area which connects Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.
"I think Israel conducted itself in an inappropriate manner, and that was indeed a slap in the face of the President of the United States," said Olmert. "The day after the United States opposed Abbas’s unilateral move at the UN, we decided to expand construction. This is misconduct that will isolate Israel in the whole world.”
He went on to discuss the appeal filed by State Prosecutor Moshe Lador over his verdict and sentencing, accusing Lador of persecuting him.
“The appeal filed with the Supreme Court is part of a personal journey of persecution, the result of which has put me in a situation where I have to decide to what I give the most attention to," Olmert said, hinting the appeal is what made him decide he won’t run in the upcoming election.
"I figured I might be acquitted in the majority of the charges against me," he added. "As far as all the allegations of personal corruption went, I was found not guilty. I was acquitted on three of the four charges against me.”
He concluded by saying that "the prosecution was dealt a blow by the District Court and collapsed. In a modern state, the prosecutor would be going home.”
The Likud responded to Olmert’s allegations, saying he is the last person who can preach to Netanyahu.
"Olmert, who incites against Israel around the world, who caused Hamas to rise to power when he supported the unilateral withdrawal from Gush Katif and who brought about the Goldstone Report, is the last one who can preach any morality to the prime minister," said a statement by the party issued on Saturday night.
The statement clarified that despite Olmert’s claims that Netanyahu was isolating Israel, "During Operation Pillar of Defense, when the IDF struck Hamas, Netanyahu was able to get the support of the entire international community.”
The Justice Ministry also published a statement on Saturday night, rejecting Olmert’s claims that he is being persecuted by the State Prosecutor.
"Ehud Olmert's claim of a personal vendetta by someone in the legal system is baseless, artificial and unrealistic," said the statement.
A statement published by the State Prosecutor’s Office said, “The remarks are coming from a man who was convicted of corruption, as a continuation of propaganda designed to de-legitimize the appeal proceedings in the case. It should be noted that all decisions regarding prosecuting him were made unanimously by all the top officials in the State Prosecutor’s Office, including the previous Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.”