A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
May 23, 2008 Olmert and Syria
Has a great deal happened in the last few days, or nothing at all? It could be "much ado about nothing". However, somethings have truly happened.First, the saga of the Olmert investigation has moved forward rapidly. The court has set Tuesday for the public questioning on the stand of Tolansky.Olmert was interrogated again today. Sources stated that Tolansky did not give sufficient answers to the questions.It was reported that Olmert flatly called his old friend and lawyer, Uri Messer a liar for claiming Olmert took money for his own unspecified needs. A reporter on Israeli TV described the situation around Olmert as similar to that around Nixon in the final days. It really looks like Olmert's term in office is going to come to a sudden end. There was an interesting article in yesterday's Haaretz on how Israeli elites looked away even though they knew Olmert was corrupt. It is worth reading- http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/985877.html
The other major revelation this week is the news that Israel has been engaged in series of indirect negotiations with Syria. Those talks have been rumored for a while. The question in Israel has been whether or not this is "real news" or just "spin by Olmert", trying to stay in office. Many observers do not believe that any of the key elements needed to reach an agreement are in place at the moment. The negotiations are happening at a low level, and they are indirect. This is the opposite of previous negotiations and there is no American involvement. If an agreement is reached it will be nearly impossible to sell to the Israeli public- only 11% of the pubic support withdrawing from the Golan, even in return for a full peace accord.