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Olmert's Unique Negotiating Strategy

By Michael Freund
6/13/2006, 12:00 AM

The people of Israel owe a debt of gratitude to Ehud Olmert.

In a speech today to the British Parliament in London, Israel's Prime Minister unwittingly succeeded in summing up everything that is wrong with our nation's policy towards the Palestinians in a mere two sentences.

Olmert_bends_over With nary a trace of sarcasm, here is what Mr. Olmert had to say about his plan to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria while retaining control over a handful of so-called settlement blocs:

"There was no 'Zionist' reasoning here, as you might be inclined to argue. There is an honest, real will on my part to give a lot and receive little in return."

Yes – you read that correctly. But just in case you didn't, here it is again: "There was no 'Zionist' reasoning here, as you might be inclined to argue. There is an honest, real will on my part to give a lot and receive little in return."

And so, the two key principles upon which Mr. Olmert's policy rests, based on his own remarks, appear to be the following:

1 – no "Zionist" reasoning guides Israeli decision-making

2 – Israel will give up a lot with the aim of receiving little in return

And all this time, we were wondering if the guy knew what he was doing…