During his meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, British Prime Minister Tony Blair refrained on Monday from endorsing the convergence plan, and called for the resumption of the peace talks to reach "negotiated two-state solution" to the Middle East conflict.
Blair added that the world would agree upon a negotiation settlement for the conflict in the Middle East instead of unilateral plans.
Olmert said that Israel is "prepared to pull out from most of the West Bank” and create a "contiguous" Palestinian state. Yet, he did not specify the contiguity especially since settlement blocs and the annexation wall are rooted deep into the occupied territories and isolating the Palestinian areas from each other.
At a press conference after talks with Blair, Olmert told reporters that the precondition for the resumption of peace talks is the end of what he described as “terrorism in the Middle East”, and claimed that he is willing “to make very possible effort to engage in dialog with the Palestinians".
Meanwhile, Blair said that the task of the international community is to “try and give the best chance possible for a negotiated settlement to take place".
Earlier on Monday, Blair said that “there has to be a viable peace partner on the Palestinian side”, adding that a negotiated settlement for the conflict will be in the interests of all sides.
Referring to advocating the negotiations of Hamas, Blair said that “you can only negotiate with people who accept your existence and renounce violence”.
Hamas’ official position is that it cannot recognize a state that is still occupying the Palestinian people and rejects the right of return of the refugees, and rejects to recognize the Palestinian right of establishing an independent Palestinian state in the occupied territories since 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.
A spokesperson of Blair said that the negotiated settlement should lead to a two state solution “the sooner, the better”.
During the conference, Olmert told his British counterpart that Israel "was prepared to pull out from most of the occupied territories for the formation of a Palestinian state", but did not comment on settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank.
"We will have to separate from the Palestinians, evacuate from areas of the West Bank and realign Israelis in other parts of Israel in order to leave a very large contiguous territory for a state to be formed by the Palestinians," Olmert said.
He added that Israel is now offering the Palestinians what he described as a “generous compromise, and a dramatic change of attitudes and positions”.
Olmert warned that if negotiations did not materialize, Israel would take unilateral steps and “move forward”.