The acting Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said on Friday that a Palestinian State is possible within borders predefined by Israel without evacuating the military and settlers from all of the West Bank.
The statements of Olmert came during an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth Israeli newspaper.
“Our borders will be set after evacuating some of the settlements”, Olmert stated, “They will be defined through an internal agreement in Israel, and international support”.
Olmert claimed that he can promise the Palestinians to have a state with geographical contiguity but without evacuating the settlers from the West Bank.
He proposed what he described as “gathering the settlers” inside permanent borders of Israel; the borders go deep inside the occupied territories since 1967.
“Sharon said that there will be no other disengagement that is similar to the first one, but we have to keep in mind that he made these statements before Hamas’ rise to power”, Olmert stated, “Now, after Hamas became in power, the hope for substantial negotiations is dashed”.
“When I speak of “gathering” (inside permanent borders), the unilateral issue is insignificant; in lieu of negotiations, first of all I want to reach via domestic dialogue a position that represents the Israeli consensus regarding the country’s permanent borders, Then I said I would negotiate with the U.S. and the international community with the objective of convincing them of the logic behind such a move. If it will be conducted in such a manner –it is not unilateralism but a coordinated process”, Olmert told the Yedioth Ahronoth during the interview.
Also, Olmert claimed that the Palestinian State will have geographical contiguity without evacuating the large settlement blocs in the West Bank.
“Abbas failed in fighting terrorism”, Olmert added, “His failure brought Hamas to power”.
Commenting on the new acting Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, Olmert said that Haniyya does not recognize Israel, therefore he is an enemy “who does not recognize Israel’s right to exist”.
Hamas leaders repeatedly stated that the movement cannot recognize Israel while it continues to occupy the Palestinian people and continues its oppression and violations against them and their lands.
Referring to Khaled Mashal, leader of Hamas political bureau, Olmert said that if Mashal enters the Palestinian territories, Israel will arrest him.