OK – Chuck Freeby wanted an update on the situation facing Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
With yesterday's news of Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak calling on Olmert to step down – what happens now?
Well, Olmert can ignore it, which is what he's doing so far, or he could suspend himself but retain his power and title and use them when he pleases.
This is not what his political opponents want – they want him to resign right now. If he were to do this then it would be the end of the peace process for a while as his cabinet would go with him.
He could take a leave of absence and retain his powers. This means he could essentially take a vacation and deal with his legal problems – but also could return at his discretion or in the case of a national emergency.
Then there's the option of saying he is temporaroly incapacitated. Whats the difference? By taking this option he would be removed from power for 100 days and Tzipi Livni, Israel's Foreign Minister, would have all the active powers of the nation and thus could carry out her own agenda and Olmert could do nothing – and would be bound by her moves. This option would be political suicide for him because again his cabninet would resign and he would come back to a new and most likely hostile one.
Some are saying that Olmert can sit tight for 6 months or so the way things are right now. But this is the problem… in one day this country can change it's course three times – and this may be what Olmert is banking on. He said himself that he will resign only if he is indicted so he has time on his side.
Morris Talansky, his main menace at the moment, has left for NYC – but he is supposed to be back for cross-examination next month. Until then – we'll have to sit back and see what the next day brings.
All the best,