Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he intends to "get Israel’s permanent borders, whereby we will completely separate from the majority of the Palestinian population and preserve a large and stable Jewish majority in Israel", in an interview published in the right-wing Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
He also pledged that Israel would begin work to link east Jerusalem to the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, constructing the Israeli Annexation Wall in a way that will take over the maximum possible percentage of Palestinian land.
Currently the acting prime minister since Ariel Sharon fell into a coma in January, Olmert has promised to establish permanent borders for the Jewish state within four years if he wins the elections this month. The borders are already being established by the hasty construction of the Israeli Annexation Wall throughout the Palestinian West Bank, in a unilateral move that has been criticized by Palestinian leadership.
He said his guidelines for the route of the borders included the large West Bank settlement bloc of Gush Etzion, the Ariel region of settlements in the north, the Jerusalem "envelope", Maale Adumim and the Jordan River as a security border.
"If after a reasonable time passes it becomes clear that the Palestinian Authority is not willing to accept these principles, we will need to begin to act", said Ehud Olmert, the acting Israeli prime minister, a statement Palestinians feel is rather disingenuous, since the plan is obviously being implemented on the ground already.
The Jerusalem Post also reported that Olmert vowed to go ahead in four years with the planned construction of 3500 housing units on the edge of Maale Adumim as part of plans to connect the settlement to annexed east Jerusalem. Olmert had said last year that the building plans were frozen, after US criticism.
Although Olmert pledged not to communicate with the Palestinian leadership before moving to draw the borders, he said he would hold an "internal dialogue inside Israel" to reach a "wide national consensus about what should be Israel’s permanent borders".
"I intend to speak to everyone, and first and foremost the public that lives in the territories," he said, referring to the 250,000 or so Jewish settlers who living in the occupied West Bank. All of Israel’s settlements on the Palestinian land they occupy are illegal, according to International Law.