Cultural Revolutions

Olmert's Bombshell

Israel’s outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will have to give up almost the entire occupied West Bank, including most settlements and East Jerusalem, as the price for peace with the Palestinians.  “What I am saying to you now has not been said by any Israeli leader before me,” he declared—and he was right.  His comments have caused a major controversy: Israel officially considers the whole of Jerusalem her “eternal, undivided” capital, of which Olmert had been a hawkish mayor for a decade (1993-2003) before becoming prime minister.

Olmert told the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aharonot that any parts of the West Bank retained by Israel would need to be compensated, in an eventual peace deal, by equal territory from pre-1967 Israel: “We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, the meaning of which is that in practice we will withdraw from almost all the territories, if not all the territories. . . . We will leave a percentage of these territories in our hands, but will have to give the Palestinians a similar percentage, because without that there will be no peace.”

“Whoever wants to hold on to all of the city’s territory will have to bring 270,000 Arabs inside the fences of sovereign Israel.  It won’t work,” the caretaker premier added with reference to Jerusalem.  “A decision has to be made. ...

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