Olmert plans to tour security barrier

Acting PM to address 'unresolved issues'; cabinet to propose change in route.

security fence 298 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
security fence 298 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The cabinet decided Wednesday to submit a proposal for a change in the route of Israel's security barrier. If the change in the route is implemented, the fence would be constructed west of the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa near Jerusalem. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to tour the barrier in order to "look into unresolved issues." Olmert convened Wednesday's meeting in order to get a status report on the security fence, amid increased concern that terrorism will increase regardless of the outcome of the Palestinian elections. However, officials in the Prime Minister's Office said the meetings had nothing to do with the elections and the likelihood of a strong Hamas showing, but rather were the continuation of monthly meetings on the fence's progress. Olmert was first meeting with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Justice and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz. They will then be joined by top security officials, including Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin and Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi. Olmert is also scheduled to meet Thursday for the first time since filling in for Sharon with Quartet envoy James Wolfensohn. Wolfensohn arrived Tuesday for a three-day "fact-finding" mission to coincide with the PLC elections. Diplomatic officials said he was in the region in advance of what was expected to be a significant Quartet meeting in London on January 30. Wolfensohn met separately Tuesday with Livni and Sharon's top adviser Dov Weisglass, and - in addition to meeting Olmert Thursday - he is also scheduled to meet Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The Quartet meeting in London is expected to discuss the ramifications of the PLC elections and the steps the Quartet expects the two sides to take after the Israeli election on March 28. The meeting will be attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.