Olmert: Netanyahu Leading to New Intifada
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continued to attack Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government on Sunday. A day after saying in a television interview that Netanyahu had “slapped President Barack Obama in the face,” Olmert accused the Prime Minister of leading towards a new Arab intifada.
Speaking during the Israel Business Conference, Olmert warned, according to a Channel 2 News report that “Israel is taking a dangerous diplomatic trek.”
He added, “Anyone who thinks he can conduct a security policy by detaching himself from the international arena and it will not affect the Israeli economy, is not giving himself a true report about the reality in which we live. I am not running in this election, so I am not speaking as part of an attempt to convince you to vote for me. We are promoting a policy that is inconsistent with the existential interests of the State of Israel.”
Olmert went on to accuse the Israeli government supporting extremists in the Palestinian Authority and ignoring the moderates. By “moderates” he was likely to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has so far remained silent on anti-Israel speeches given by Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal.
"Israel’s real decision is in the security-political arena - dialogue with our neighbors the Palestinians and peace negotiations," he said, according to Channel 2. "In recent years, what the government has been doing is glorifying Hamas and other terrorist forces and minimizing the moderate forces with whom it might be possible to make peace.”
Olmert warned of a possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority and said, "You remember the intifada? Remember those scenes? We're not far from that."
The speech marks the second time in recent months that Olmert has blamed Netanyahu of strengthening Hamas. The first time came following Abbas's seemingly moderate statements on an interview with Israeli television.
Former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni also blamed Netanyahu on Sunday for negotiating with Hamas.
Following Hamas’s supreme leader Khaled Mashaal's landmark weekend visit to Gaza, in which he said Hamas would not cede "an inch" of “historic Palestine,” Livni commented, "On Saturday, [Hamas] celebrated the defeat of the Israeli government. Every day that passes under this government, Hamas is strengthened and Israel is weakened," she said in a statement.
"This government negotiated with Hamas. What's worse, they allowed them to gain international legitimacy," she added.
Both Livni and Olmert backed the expulsion of Jews from Gaza in 2005 when they were part of the government headed by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.