Mofaz Eyeing Kadima Chairmanship

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Speaking on Channel 2's Meet the Press, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said he would consider running against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for chairmanship of the Kadima party.

The former defense minister and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of General Staff thinks political stability would be compromised if general elections were held now.

"I believe general elections at this time would not add to the government's stability," Mofaz said.

"When they are held, I'll consider running against Olmert. The important thing is that Kadima continue to head the coalition," he said, adding that he doesn't believe general elections will be coming up soon.

Mofaz said Olmert, former Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-General Dan Halutz failed in their handling of the Second Lebanon War.

"I met with the prime minister. I warned him, and I did my best to offer better alternatives, but he turned them down," Mofaz said. "The defense minister, prime minister and chief of General Staff failed in their management of the war," he said.

Mofaz also said addressing "core issues" at this time in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would slow down rather than speed up the process.

"First, we must make it clear that we will not heed the Palestinian demand to divide Jerusalem, and then we can discuss other matters," he said.

"We must stick to this principle and also realize that the 1967 borders are indefensible. We must rely on the settlement blocs," he said.

Mofaz also said he disagreed with Olmert's plan to relax criteria for releasing Palestinian terrorists "with blood on their hands." While he would support "paying a heavy price" for the release of kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit, he's opposed to any changes in the criteria for prisoner release.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news service

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