Olmert's Unique Negotiating Strategy

Michael Freund,

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Michael Freund
Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....

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.

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…