Barak will bring down Olmert after all

Tuesday, February 05, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday appeared to again zig-zag regarding whether or not he will remain part of the current ruling coalition, and thereby ensure Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's political survival.

On Sunday, Barak backtracked on a primary election promise to pull his Labor Party out of the government following the publication of the Winograd Commission report into the handling of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

The Winograd report failed to personally indict Mr. Olmert for the war's failures when it was released last week, prompting Barak to announce that new realities had obligated him to remain at the prime minister's side.

But a day later, Barak reportedly told Knesset colleagues that he still intends to bring down the Olmert government when doing so will be politically beneficial for him. The time for such a move, according to Barak, is in the "not too distant future."

Barak and many other lawmakers expressed irritation over a speech made by Olmert to the Knesset in which he continued to defend his well-intentioned, if not successful, handling of the Lebanon war in the wake of the Winograd report.

Barak called the speech "cynical and troubling," and said it would have been better for Mr. Olmert to simply keep his mouth shut.

Speaking to fellow Labor Party members on Monday evening, Barak said Olmert had come to believe he "lives in a glass house," and that if the prime minister continued to behave in such a manner he would soon need to be broken.

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