Likud, Blue & White leaders blast Olmert’s ‘disgraceful’ presser with Abbas

Politicians from the center-left and right condemned the former prime minister’s appearance with the head of the Palestinian Authority.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Politicians from Israel’s two largest parties condemned former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for holding a joint press conference and giving support to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the harshest assessment, calling Olmert’s decision “a low point in Israeli history, shameful and disgraceful.”

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 20, Netanyahu said, “After I worked for three years with Trump to produce the deal of the century, a former prime minister goes to [Abbas] in order to fight against it. It’s unbelievable.”

Blue and White’s No. 3, Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, also condemned the move by Olmert, calling it “disgraceful” in a Wednesday interview with Ynet.

“I would call it a disgraceful meeting. It is a shame it happened,” Ya’alon said.

Ya’alon, however, seems to be the only member of Blue and White to condemn the meeting. Two Blue and White members who are considered to represent the right-wing of the center-left party, Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser, did not comment on the presser.

Benny Gantz, Blue and White’s party head, also kept silent about the joint Olmert-Abbas press conference. The meeting is potentially embarrassing to the party head as Olmert has reportedly been advising him.

The Likud was quick to draw the connection between its main rival Gantz and Olmert.

Netanyahu tweeted on Tuesday, “There’s no government for Gantz without [Joint List] MK Ahmed Tibi, and Ahmed Tibi will do whatever [Mahmoud Abbas] tells him, who is meeting now with the adviser and friend of Gantz – Ehud Olmert.”

On Wednesday, Netanyahu also tweeted an article from Israel Hayom on the connection between Olmert and Gantz. He also retweeted a picture of Olmert and Abbas together at the press conference.

Other members of the Likud party weighed in on Olmert’s move and drew the connection.

Tourism Minister and Likud MK Yariv Levin said: “It’s scary to think that Ehud Olmert was prime minister. He lost all self-respect and reasonable judgment a long time ago. And yes, he supports Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. It’s scary to think that we’ll wake up the day after the election with the next edition of Olmert: Benny Gantz. He gets advice from Olmert and kowtows to Abbas.”

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Likud MK Yoav Kisch simply said, “A sad, embarrassing and unnecessary event. Former prime minister who harms Israel.”

At the press conference held in New York, Olmert described Abbas as Israel’s partner in future negotiations. Abbas welcomed Olmert as a “dear friend” and “a man of peace.