Kadima to PM: Clarify details of talks with Abbas

Party MKs warn ahead of ME peace summit that if Olmert proceeds alone, he will be left alone.

olmert abbas 224.88 (photo credit: GPO [file])
olmert abbas 224.88
(photo credit: GPO [file])
Kadima MKs were unhappy that details of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were not being divulged to them, it was reported Monday morning. The MKs demanded that Olmert present the details of the framework agreement he was planning to sign with Abbas ahead of the US-sponsored Mideast peace conference in November. In order to gain support within Kadima and also with the general public, Olmert was planning to make a speech on September 20, during which he would outline the details of the planned agreement. Among party members who expressed their displeasure were Marina Solodkin, David Tal, Otniel Schneller, Ze'ev Elkin, and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter. The MKs and the minister said concessions by Israel would potentially weaken public support of Kadima. Some of them complained that Olmert was not updating them on diplomatic developments. The diplomatic discussion within the party's committee, the first of its kind, was initiated by Vice Premier Haim Ramon. On Sunday, Ramon told the daily Ha'aretz that no decisions would be made before it would have the backing of the party, the coalition and the public. "The prime minister is experienced enough to know that the political groundwork has to be prepared. One cannot run forward on a diplomatic issue without having a political backing on all fronts. This is will not be like what happened with [then prime minister Ehud] Barak in 2000," Ramon said. Kadima's allies in the coalition, Israel Beiteinu and Shas, might also present the prime minister with difficulties. Israel Beiteinu leader, Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, demanded that Olmert clarify the agreement's outline. Inside Kadima, Dichter warned against considering giving parts of the western Negev to the Palestinians in return for settlements in the West Bank. "No one in Israel has the mandate to make such a decision." Solodkin said no agreement would be signed without support from the Knesset. A Kadima MK, who spoke on condition his name not be disclosed, said that "the meaning of a prime minister trying to pass a decision without the support of his party is disastrous. This could be dynamite that would bring about a split, just like what happened in the Likud following the disengagement [from Gaza in 2005]. Olmert has to take into account that there will be dissent in Kadima. This is not Meretz." The Knesset plenum is scheduled to hold a special session on Tuesday to discuss recent diplomatic contacts with the Palestinians. The discussion was initiated by opposition parties Likud and NU-NRP.