Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Urges Deal with PA
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert subtly expressed disdain with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday, claiming he was uninterested in securing a peace agreement.
"If Israel secures a peace agreement, then even a foolish Prime Minister will turn out well," Olmert stated in a lecture Monday at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "but a foolish Prime Minister doesn't want to make peace."
Channel 2 notes that Olmert also slammed the idea of a land swap which would see Israeli Arabs under Palestinian Authority control. The swap was reportedly offered by Israel to the US as part of talks last week.
The area known as the Triangle in east-central Israel, including the cities of Tayibe and Tira, in which about 300,000 Arabs live. In return for the area ceded, Israel will get to keep settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria.
Olmert slammed the move. "There is no chance of ever achieving peace on the basis of the position that we'll withdraw from the State of Israel's borders, the 'Triangle' and Wadi Ara," he stated.
Olmert argued that Israel is at a critical point for achieving an agreement and called on Jerusalem not to lose the opportunity.
"We could make peace right now and have both a Jewish, Zionist state and a Palestinian state," he claimed. "There is nothing that could change our lives more than the existence or absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians in the near future."
Olmert added, "If Israel agrees to a peace deal, the State will benefit more than anyone else. The entire Middle East will change [as] the status of Israel and the Palestinians [changes]."
Olmert also attacked Netanyahu in December over his differences with the US on Iran, claiming that the current administration was "declaring war" on the US. Officials close to the Prime Minister responded by pointing out that Olmert's own term was characterized by "continuous failure."