During a speech hosted by the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the “realignment plan” has faded away due to “changed circumstances”.He stated that his plan “would have seen the evacuation of most West Bank settlements”, and the formation of a Palestinian independent state. Yet, his plan never set the borders of the “state” or confirmed whether Israel would actually withdraw from all of the occupied territories.
Olmert stated that he “did not give up on his vision of a Palestinian state living peacefully next to Israel”.
“This is my vision”, Olmert stated, “It’s implementation differs since it is affected by circumstances”.
Olmert also claimed that he is “willing to negotiate with the enemy”, referring to Hamas movement, but added that Hamas does not want to recognize Israel and rejects peace talks with it.
Referring to Hamas’ political bureau chief, Khalid Mashal, Olmert said that “Mashal represents nearly 50% of the Palestinian people, but rejects talks and rejects peace with Israel”.
Regarding the firing of homemade shells into Israeli settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Olmert warned that Israel will retaliate if the firing goes on.
Moreover, Olmert said that he will hold talks with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and that the talks will focus “on improving the daily lives of the Palestinian civilians who suffer for the mistakes of their leaders”, according to Olmert.
He said that he will not cut the bilateral track between himself and Abbas, and that his staff will meet Abbas’ staff.
Regarding the new Palestinian unity government, Olmert said that Israel will not recognize it unless it accepts the conditions of the Quartet and the international community. The conditions are recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and accepting the past peace agreements”.