Ehud Olmert with PA chairman Abbas in 2008
Ehud Olmert with PA chairman Abbas in 2008Thaer Ganaim/Flash90

During an interview with the Arab media outlets Panet and Hala TV, former prime minister Ehud Olmert shared details about the peace initiative which he attempted to advance while he was prime minister with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"The first time, I offered an agreement that was up to all of the Palestinians' expectations and requests. Everything that the Palestinians wanted. I offered an arrangement that was based on the 1967 borders, not identical to the '67 borders, based on the '67 borders, 4% or 5% of the West Bank was to be annexed by Israel, but the same amount of land from within Israel before 1967, was to be transferred to the Palestinians. And not in that area, not the village of Taibeh, and not in an area which has Arab residents."

Regarding Jerusalem Olmert stated: "I offered an arrangement that Arab Jerusalem will be a Palestinian capital. I suggested that no one have political sovereignty over the Temple Mount or the old city, no one, not even us, not the state of Israel, and not the Palestinians. There will be a Muslim religious authority in charge of the Al Aqsa mosque, a Jewish religious authority in charge of the Jewish sites, and a Christian authority in charge of the Christian sites. There will be an international trust of five nations: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and the USA, that receives special power from the UN to manage the holy area, including the Temple Mount and the old city."

Olmert adds: "Mahmoud Abbas did not argue about this. He couldn't say no to such an offer. It's a revolutionary offer from Israel's point of view. And I also offered a solution to the refugee issue, the negotiations about the refugee issue will be part of the Arab peace initiative."

According to Olmert: "The Palestinians missed their opportunity when I offered them a deal, and they don't deny it. I'm telling you that Mahmoud Abbas knows, he told quite a few Israelis that we were so close to a peace agreement that would have changed everything. Now, he never told me no. That's correct. He would always tell me: 'say that I said no'. It's true, but he also didn't say yes. He could have said yes. I begged him. I told him: 'mister president, what I'm offering, an Israeli prime minister won't offer for another 50 years, take advantage of the opportunity. He (Ehud Barak) made groundbreaking proposals. That's true, but I offered more. I really offered, I offered the most that can be offered."

Olmert is of the opinion that the Palestinian terror won't end immediately after the foundation of a Palestinian state. "If a Palestinian state were to be formed next to Israel, it will take time until the terror stops. The terror won't stop in one day. Don't have that illusion. They always say: What, you'll make a peace deal with the Palestinians, and tomorrow there won't be any terror? There will be terror tomorrow, it won't disappear in a day."

Olmert concludes: "There is no future in this land without peace with the Palestinians and there's no peace without coexistence with the Arab population."