Exclusive: Israel’s diplomatic positions eroded by PM Olmert’s police probe
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report that the police investigations hanging over prime minister Olmert’s head are beginning to undermine his government’s ability to engage in Middle East diplomacy. Most political circles have begun the countdown to his political demise in the short term.
Sunday night, Cairo had not finally confirmed that Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman would keep his Monday, May 12, date in Jerusalem to hand over the truce offer from the Palestinian fundamentalist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Damascus has turned its back on the feelers for peace talks relayed to Israel by Turkish mediators.
Olmert is tied up in long conferences with his lawyers on his legal strategy in the grave allegations against him of accepting large sums of money from an American financier. He has not been able to prepare a definitive answer for the Egyptian minister’s proposal on Gaza.
Our sources report that Israeli officials are expected to hear him out and put off their reply for a later date – even though Hamas has made it clear that without an agreed truce, its attacks will be intensified.
Any ceasefire is opposed by sections of the Israeli military who argue that it will give Hamas the chance to regroup and acquire more powerful arms for its next round of violence. In his present state, the prime minister’s strength to assert his authority in this or any other Middle East diplomatic issue is gravely diminished.