Anyone who believes that Israel can maintain its current hold on all the
West Bank is “living in a dream,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Friday,
reiterating that Israel “needs to withdraw.”
Speaking at a forum of Jezreel Valley farmers, Olmert said, however, that
Israel would not make any unilateral withdrawals, and that any steps would
need to be negotiated with the Palestinian Authority government.
“Everyone understands that the state of Israel can’t exist without a
guarantee of a Jewish majority,” Olmert said. According to the prime
minister, in order to ensure a Jewish majority, Israel would have to make
Olmert did not address Haim Ramon’s proposal to withdraw from approximately
70 percent of the West Bank and evacuate a small number of settlements.
Turning to Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip last month, Olmert said that, despite recent predictions by senior defense officials, a situation similar to that in Lebanon would not develop in Gaza.
Olmert said that while he didn’t intend to turn a blind eye to the volatile reality in Gaza, Israel needed to respond to the nascent reality with “brains, not hysteria.” Olmert said he did not believe that a large-scale IDF invasion would be an appropriate response.
When asked about Syria, Olmert said that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s
overtures towards peace were serious. Olmert said he didn’t rule out peace
with Israel’s northern neighbor, but that the only way to achieve it would
be through direct talks.
JPost.com Staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 20, 2007 For the original Post article, click here.