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Thursday 22 Feb 2018 | 04:52 | SYDNEY
Thursday 22 Feb 2018 | 04:52 | SYDNEY

Olmert's deathbed conversion



7 October 2008 09:55

Politics is a difficult game. The players must reconcile their good intentions with  soaring egos, political imperatives and, in the case of those leaving office,the desire to leave a favourable legacy. It is sometimes comforting to know that, in Australia, our politicians occupy themselves with largely economic and basic societal issues such as paid maternity leave, industrial relations and the like. In the Middle East, the issues are often of a different order, but the same basic motivating factors are apparent.

Take the issue of Middle East peace. A recent newspaper interview with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, traditionally a political hawk, has created headlines, with Olmert positioning himself as a relative ‘dove’ on the issue of peace with the Palestinians. Naturally, such an epiphany by someone in Olmert’s position raises a few questions about timing and motives (The Weekend Australian had a rather kinder treatment of Olmert’s interview than did Israel’s Haaretz). Whatever the truth to the Israeli Prime Minister’s political ‘deathbed’ conversion, the nature of politics suggests that issues of legacy must have been at least as strong a motivating factor as conviction.