Palestinian leadership hopes next Israeli PM “moderate”

RAMALLAH, A source from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office said Monday that the Palestinian leadership hopes the coming Israeli prime minister would be moderate. “We hope the coming (Israeli) prime minister would be moderate and not implicated in illegal affairs” like the current premier Ehud Olmert, the source said on condition of anonymity, quoted by the Israel Radio’s Arabic service.

On Sunday, Israeli police recommended to indict Olmert on charges of bribery and fraud in two separated cases.

Embroiled in a series of probes, Olmert announced late July that he would resign as soon as a new leader of his ruling Kadima party is elected. He has also said that he would step down if indicted.

During Olmert’s prime minister incumbency, the United States mediated to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) last year. The talks are intended to reach a deal on creating a Palestinian statehood alongside Israel by the end of this year.

According to the Palestinian president’s office, the police recommendation against Olmert “doesn’t directly affect the ongoing peace negotiations because it is known from the past that Olmert will be quitting.”

But the talks failed to achieve any breakthrough so far and the terms of George W. Bush as U.S. president and Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian president are also going to their end this year or early next year. 

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