An indictment against former prime minister Ehud Olmert was served at the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday afternoon in three out of the four corruption-related cases standing against him: ‘Rishontours’, ‘Talansky’ and the ‘Investment Center’.
The indictment, filed by State Attorney Moshe Lador and Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel, includes severe charges against Olmert, among them fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate documents and tax evasion. However, the former prime minister is not charged with bribery.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this were the last we had to hear of this man: an ‘accidental’ Prime Minister who wasn’t up to the job and also turned out to be a common thief!
Although there was plenty of blame to go around for the débacle that was the war against Hezbollah in 2006, Olmert deserves a lot of it. Unfortunately what was not done then will need to be done in the future, and another PM will face a much tougher challenge than Olmert did in 2006.
Olmert was also — at least nominally — PM during Operation Cast Lead. While the full story of its premature termination has not yet surfaced — what was Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told when she flew to Washington in mid-January immediately before Obama’s inauguration? — one wonders whether the outcome would have been different if someone else had been PM. This will also have to be done over again at greater cost.
Olmert was the anti-Churchill. In 2005, he expressed his wish that the disengagement from Gaza would lead to peace thus:
We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies. We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors, and I believe that this is not impossible… That it is within reach if we will be smart, if we will dare, if we will be prepared to take the risks, and if we will be able to convince our Palestinian partners to be able to do the same.
What an unprecedented combination of defeatist rhetoric, bad politics, and fundamentally wrong analysis!
By comparison, the US is a big country with huge resources and the capacity to survive a really rotten administration once in a while (although we don’t want to make a habit of it). But Israel is small, things happen fast, and her existence is much more precarious than many people think. One jerk in a high place can do a lot of damage.
Goodbye Mr. Olmert, good luck in court, and good riddance.