Finally, PM Olmert formally tendered his resignation to Pres. Peres on Sunday evening! In doing so he admitted that he is bowing to the public will. He knows that he is very unpopular and that he must go and make place for another less corrupt leader.
But the situation is quite complex. If Tzipi Livni, now the leader of Kadima, can form a stable coalition Govt. along the lines of Olmert’s, then she may become PM until the end of 2009. She has 42 days in which to do this. If she cannot then a general election will be called, and unfortunately Olmert may remain as the caretaker PM until the next Govt. is elected, which may not be until next spring!
But, is it the end of an era? I think not, since Livni as well as being FM has been Head of the Israeli delegation to the talks with the PA. Such friends of Israel as Pres. Abbas of the PA have praised Livni for her forthright representation of Israel, by which he means her tendency to make concessions to the Palestinians. She has openly admitted that the only way to acheive an agreement, especially before the end of the year, is to accept the re-division of Jerusalem. But, this is opposed by the vast majority of Israelis as well as Shas, that she needs to form her coalition. Meanwhile, Ehud Barak of Labor, after meeting first with Netanyahu, met with Livni and they have reportedly mended their fences and he has agreed not surprisingly to support her formation of a stable coalition.
Perhaps in order to put pressure on Livni at this critical time, Pres. Abbas of the PA is quoted in the J’sam Post today as saying that more Palestinians are concluding that a “two state solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict is impossible to achieve, and so they favor a “one state solution.” However, in this scenario he refers not to an exclusively Muslim state, as envisaged by Hamas and the extremists, in which there would be no Jews (all having been killed and/or expelled) but to a binational secular state, in which Jews would be accepted. However, this is also a non-starter, since the PLO under Arafat used this scenario as propaganda for years to cover for their continued use of terrorism. No sensible Israeli leader, and Livni is at least we hope sensible, is going to accept this ruse. Another leaf in the wind was a statement from the PA that force may be needed to overcome the Hamas Govt. in Gaza. Of course, in order to do this the PA would need massive Israeli help and support.
Livni is firmly committed to a “two state solution” and her future and that of Kadima’s rests upon her at least partially achieving that goal. If she cannot do so in a way acceptable to most Israelis by the end of her coming period in office then it is likely that she and Kadima will be decisively rejected by the electorate at the next election.

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