It's official - Ehud Olmert will resign as head of the Kadima Party and as Prime Minister of Israel. (Next stop, prison?) Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni takes over as leader of Kadima, and has less than 2 months to form a new government and offiically take the reigns of PM.
[Tuque Souq note: If Livni becomes PM, then 3 out of the 4 branches of Israeli government will be headed by women - Dalia Itzik is Speaker of the Knesset and Dorit Beinisch is President of the Supreme Court (aka Chief Justice). Man Shimon Peres is still the figurehead President of Israel. But eat your heart out, Sarah Palin.]
Here's a sampling of Middle Eastern opinions on Tzipi Livni
"[Livni] is also notorious for her lack of respect and appreciation and for her disregard and scorn of Palestinian rights... It is obvious that the Palestinians and other Arabs will pay the price of the battle during which Tzipi Livni will prove her character before the other Israeli political parties. The outcome of this battle will be to return the negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians to square one."
"Livni has so far known only how to evade any binding statement that indicates a clear policy. She has known how to enthusiastically stress important words to hide that there is nothing behind them."
"She is viewed as a strong supporter of the peace process, but if general elections are held the opposition right-wing Likud party is expected to win the most seats, putting the future of the negotiations in doubt."
"The odds are that [Livni] like Olmert will not have the political make-up to sign a historic deal with the Palestinians. As chief negotiator in the current government, [she] has not demonstrated the calibre needed to make "painful" concessions. The dichotomy between the celebrated Israeli democracy, which has catapulted Livni to the forefront of Israeli politics, at least for now, and the dire reality in the Occupied Territories has never been more pronounced."
The Daily Star:
"As a mother, Livni has seen firsthand the immediate psychological impact that children suffer when they experience overwhelming fear, so surely she can imagine what might be the cumulative effect of growing up under such terrifying conditions.... Perhaps Livni might prove herself to be man enough for the job if her actions as premier emanate from her concerns for the wellbeing of children - both hers and ours."
Globe and Mail:
"[W]hen it comes to substance, what happens on the three key issues for Israel - the threat of nuclear Iran, Syria-Lebanon, and the Palestinians - will depend on who is the next president of the United States as much as who is the Israeli prime minister."