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Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beiteinu party head, kept his promise today. He told Prime Minister Olmert Wednesday he would resign his position as Minister for Strategic Affairs and lead his party out of the ruling coalition.

Addressing a press conference at the Knesset, Lieberman praised Olmert for being forthright and open with him whenever they differed on issues, but said Yisrael Beiteinu had set clear red lines for remaining in the coalition. “On October 27, 2007, a month before the Annapolis Conference, we published our red lines for staying in the government. We were absolutely clear about what it would take to keep our party in the government. “I met with the prime minister two days before he left for the conference, and 10 days ago I reiterated our red lines yet again: If the government opens negotiations on core issues with the Palestinian Authority, we would leave the government.

One down one to Go

Lieberman’s announcement reduced Olmert’s coalition from 78 to 67 members, and left all eyes on the 12-seat Shas Party. Shas Chairman Eli Yishai told IsraelNationalNews last week that his party would follow Lieberman’s lead out of the government if negotiations began on core issues, but a party spokesman told Voice of Israel government radio following the announcement that the party would not be dependent on Yisrael Beiteinu to make it’s decisions. “For us, the only pressure comes from the Jerusalem issue,” he said. “If the Israeli government makes clear that it will make concessions in Jerusalem, then Shas will be out. Until that time, there is no reason for us to leave the government. We must keep our eyes open, and keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on, and put the brakes on any concessions in Jerusalem.”(Lieberman Quits Government)

I don’t understand what Shas is waiting for ? Olmert as already put Jerusalem on the table, as well as the Temple Mount. If you wait till everything is already given away it will be too late. Olmert is the ultimate political “come back kid.” There have been many other times he has teetered on being run out of the PM office and survived. Lets pray that this time is different.

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