Israeli acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert said that he hopes that negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel will resume after the elections in both the Palestinian territories and Israel, but conditioned the resumption of talks with the disarmament of the Palestinian factions.
An Israeli source reported that Olmert will only start the final status negotiations with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if he disarms the Palestinian factions, in accordance to the Road Map Plan, according to the source.
Olmert held a press conference in Jerusalem, on Tuesday, after meeting the Israeli President Moshe Katsav, and demanded that Palestinian Authority to disarm the armed groups as a precondition resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Katsav said that if Hamas wins the legislative elections scheduled on January 25, Israel would only negotiate with the movement if it recognizes Israel and disarms its military wing.
"I hope that after the Palestinian elections I will be able to hold talks Mahmoud Abbas", Olmert stated, "I hope we can hold talks on a final status agreement".
The Israeli elections are scheduled for March 28, 2006.
Olmert added that the Road Map, which called for the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005, would form the basis for negotiations.
Also, Olmert reported that Israel decided to allow the Palestinians to vote in East Jerusalem because "it is interested in preserving the link between East Jerusalem Palestinians and the rest of the West Bank.
Palestinian leaders of different factions had warned that the balloting would not proceed if Jerusalem Palestinians were barred from voting.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Rege, said on Tuesday that Abbas has promised to disarm the resistance factions after the elections.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that Olmert, who was mayor of Jerusalem for a decade beginning in 1993, has said previously that Israel might have to give up some Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.
He still opposes withdrawing from the entire eastern sector of Jerusalem, and in particular, the walled Old City.