Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Just another Israeli scandal

Wow, another Israeli political scandal involving a high-level figure! First it was the President Katsav and now the former justice minister. IHT:

An Israeli court Wednesday convicted the former justice minister, Haim Ramon, of sexual misconduct for forcibly kissing a young female soldier in a highly publicized case that has added to the scandal surrounding the country's leadership.

Ramon's conviction in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court also prompted speculation that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert might soon shuffle his cabinet.

This accompanies the other scandals of Olmert's cabinet and the Israeli government — including that of ministers and officials during the Lebanon-Israeli conflict in summer 2006. The prime minister's popularity has been plummeting as recent violence with neighbors raises doubts about security and future plans of Israel to remove its illegal settlements. Which brings us to more Israel news mentioned in the above article...
In another development Wednesday, Olmert has asked security officials to examine the possibility of rerouting part of Israel's West Bank separation barrier to include two additional Jewish settlements, his office said.

Under the current route, the two settlements, Nili and Naaleh, are outside the barrier.

Haaretz reported Wednesday that Olmert had already approved the change. But Olmert's office said the prime minister had only asked for a review, and on his own could not overturn the cabinet's decision on the barrier's route.

If the route is ultimately changed, about 20,000 additional Palestinians would find themselves on the western, or Israeli, side of the barrier, according to the Haaretz report.

Israel says the barrier is to protect against suicide bombings and other attacks.

But much of the international community opposes the barrier, and the International Court of Justice, in a nonbinding ruling in 2004, said the parts built in the West Bank violated international law.

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