Olmert: Kadima is no fly-by-night party

Acting PM says Jordan River will continue to be security border.

elections06.article.298 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
In an interview with Army Radio Monday, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied that Kadima, like previous newfoundling parties before it, would be plagued by interpersonal problems after elections and eventually disintegrate. "We have a lot of experience with parties that are extraneous add-ons to the real centers of power. Kadima, on the other hand, will in all likelihood be the biggest party, and will be the real center of power in the country," he said
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When asked if personal ambition might be a bigger driving force behind Kadima than common political opinion, Olmert answered, "There are no differences in opinion [within the party]. We created Kadima because we all came to the conclusion that we need to choose the high road of responsibility...And in what political system do people not have ambitions?" Olmert refused to name names regarding who would fulfill which ministerial posts in the next government. In an attempt to combat voter complacency, he emphasized that it is important that Kadima have as many Knesset mandates as possible so that the party will not have to compromise on key issues in the formation of a coalition. Olmert refused to talk about which party he preferred for a coalition. Israel's future borders would be "significantly different" than today's borders, said Olmert. The Jordan River, he added, would continue to be a "security border." Olmert restated his intention to create a settlement strip between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Edumim so that the latter would not be an "island." When asked if the Golan would be part of Israel in the future, he said that the Golan was not on the list of territorial issues. Olmert noted that the government is stepping up development funding for the area over the next few years. Asked if the Jericho prison raid may have had something to do with political motives, Olmert answered, "I will never do anything that endangers lives, [Israeli] or otherwise, solely for political motives. Nor will I ever refrain from doing anything that benefits Israeli security solely for political motives." "We had said the whole time that as soon as US and UK monitors left the prison we'd be there," said Olmert. "The monitors delivered over 40 warnings to the PA regarding their fears for their safety." Olmert alluded to his role, as Acting Prime Minister, as director of security forces, and said that he had made decisions that could have endangered lives had they been incorrect. The prison raid in Jericho, he said, was simply the first that the public had heard of, and the fact that other security decisions had not reached the public was a sign that they had been successful. When asked if he was an honest man, Olmert said that it was an unfair question, but yes, he is. The interviewer then quoted Yosi Sarid, proverbial straight arrow and former head of Meretz, as saying that Olmert had started in the same place as he did, and had somehow ended up in a much higher position. Olmert responded, "Yosi and I started in the same place, and he dropped out first. I suppose it bothers him that I got to where I am whereas he is where he is today. "These accusations [of corruption] never came up before I was a candidate for a senior position…when people can't attack you for your decisions and issues, they accuse you of corruption." Olmert said that he was "very healthy" according to Tel Hashomer Hospital.