Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Olmert's Peculiar Indictment

I have known (and liked) Ehud Olmert for nearly 40 years, at first as a reporter using (and being used by) a source, in the way of journalistic friendships--but enjoying warmer relations in recent months, as Olmert found himself forced out of office, lamenting missed opportunities, having second thoughts about the use of military power, and worried about the country's direction under the Netanyahu government. If only for personal reasons, I confess great relief at the verdict exonerating him.

But circumstances that force a sitting prime minister from office are not merely of personal interest, especially (so Olmert has emphasized to me and others) when the prime minister's indictment comes just days after he enters into talks with the American Secretary of State and (through her, with) Mahmud Abbas about far reaching concessions for the creation of a Palestinian state; when the charges are thin and exotic; and the facts that underlie the charges are dredged up by, among other investigators, teams of reporters whose salaries are paid by Sheldon Adelson, an American billionaire supporting Netanyahu's resistance to any such concessions.

This may be just a tragic coincidence. (And I find myself slightly appalled writing this last sentence, since crack-pot conspiracy theorists always write, "This may be just a tragic coincidence" when they are about to write, "But could there not be more to the story?") But could there not be more to the story? Stay tuned.