A politician with a career marked by quiet innovation, independent opinions and intimitions of scandal.
"Had I believed that there is a real chance of reaching an agreement, I would have recommended making an effort. But that is not the case. The choice we will be facing will be between less than a Geneva Accord--which means a return to the 1967 border, the crushing of Jerusalem, and a struggle to our last breath to ward off the international pressure to absorb hundreds of thousands of refugees into the shrinking State of Israel--and a comprehensive unilateral move, and I stress the word comprehensive. Through such a move we will define our borders, which under no circumstances will be identical to the Green Line and will include Jerusalem as a united city under our sovereignty."
Disengagement, modified to a much smaller scope, became announced Israeligovernment policy a few weeks later. Olmert worked closely with PM Ariel Sharon to advance the idea in the Likud party in the face of stubborn opposition.
In the summer of 2005, when Benjamin Netanyahu resigned in protest over disengagement, Olmert became finance minister.
In November 2005, Sharon decided to leave the Likud party and found the Kadima Party.Olmert joined with Sharon. Skeptics insisted that Kadima was a "Sharon party," dependent on the leadership of Sharon. But on January 4, 2006, Sharon suffered a massive stroke and was hospitalized under anesthesia. Olmert assumed the powers of acting prime minister, holding a cabinet meeting on January 5 to signal the transfer of power.
In the 2006 elections, Olmert became Prime Minister as leader of the Kadima Party. Soon thereafter, the Second Lebanon War broke out. The Winograd Commission investigating the government’s handling of the war accused Olmert of "serious failure in exercising judgement, responsibility and prudence." In addition, corruption charges continued to haunt him from earlier in his career. As a result, in July 2008 Olmert announced that he would step down as party leader of Kadima, and early elections were called for March 2009.
In August 2009, Olmert became the first former prime minister of Israel to be indicted when he was indicted for three corruption charges.
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