Prime Minister Ehud Olmert returned from a lengthy American speaking tour Wednesday night amid speculation that he would soon announce his return to politics.
But the news of the assassination of Hamas military wing chief Ahmed Jabari , which he received upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport, caused him to postpone meetings with former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, her successor Shaul Mofaz, and former Kadima council chairman Haim Ramon. Olmert welcomed the assassination, in rare praise for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
"Jabari is a terrorist whose hands were soaked in blood," Olmert said. "His assassination is an accomplishment for our security forces. Naturally, I will not deal publicly with the question of my return to politics."
He did not rule out holding private meetings.
Kadima leaders have been pressuring Olmert to run in recent weeks, amid polls indicating that the party might not pass the electoral threshold. Livni is more likely to return to politics if Olmert decides not to run. Sources close to her said she would feel uncomfortable running under him due to his conviction of breach of trust.
The State's Attorney's Office decided last week to appeal Olmert's acquittals in the so-called Talansky and Rishontours scandals.
Kadima decided Wednesday to suspend its election campaign , which accuses Netanyahu of being too trigger-happy on Iran.
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