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Press ponders Olmert resignation

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaks at his Jerusalem residence
Mr Olmert annnounced plans to resign following corruption allegations

Israel's press is largely unsurprised by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement that he would leave office in September after coming under pressure over mounting corruption allegations.

Most commentators see Olmert's departure as inevitable, with one paper describing it as a "tragedy".

Palestinian commentators fear Israeli political instability might have a detrimental impact on the peace process, and hope that his successor would be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

SIMA KADMON IN YEDIOT AHARONOT

Even if what we have here is a dramatic announcement it is impossible to say that it was a surprise. What we have here is a sober man, a sane man, who understands very well his situation.

BEN KASPIT IN MA'ARIV

Yesterday the death certificate of Ehud Olmert was signed - the man who came from nowhere and is now returning there. What we have here is a tragedy.

NAHUM BARNEA IN YEDIOT AHARONOT

He opted for Tony Blair's choice: to go in an orderly manner, in a move determined by him and to leave his opponents to stew (and fail) in the premiership

OFER SHELAH IN MA'ARIV

For weeks already Olmert was the only one who refused to acknowledge the inevitable, and insisted on rolling himself in the tar and feathers as much as possible on the way to political loss.

YOSSI VERTER IN HA'ARETZ

The Olmert who spoke on Wednesday from the garden of his compound in Jerusalem was a crushed and battered man, tainted by allegations, lacking public trust or a sympathetic ear.

ALUF BENN IN HA'ARETZ

Olmert came into office in a storm, with the collapse of Ariel Sharon, and is departing in a storm of police investigations. The disappointment of the public as a result of the war only became deeper as the corruption cases turned into an avalanche.

EDITORIAL IN THE JERUSALEM POST

Olmert, in departure, has mercifully spared Israel the shameful potential ignominy of having a prime minister indicted while in office. Attention, politically, now switches to the succession battle within Kadima. But attention legally turns to the police and the state prosecution.

EDITORIAL IN PALESTINIAN NEWSPAPER AL-QUDS

The Palestinians are not too interested in who governs Israel. All they want from the person who assumes power is to have the capabilities to allow him to go ahead in implementing the peace.

YAHYA RABAH IN PALESTINIAN NEWSPAPER AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

The Palestinians are facing up to a lack of political stability in Israel. In the current situation, the calm with Israel in the Gaza Strip loses its meaning and benefits. So what shall we do?

EDITORIAL IN LONDON-BASED AL-QUDS AL-ARABI

Finally, Olmert has decided to yield to political and judicial pressure and withdraw from political life. What was not expected was that he would surrender so easily at a time when Israel is facing difficult political and military times, especially with the possibility of a war with Iran.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.



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