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May's Glory

Olmert: "Greater Israel" a Delusion

Olmert:
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Source: Al Manar TV, 26-05-2008
Only dreamer would believe that in this day and age, and in the current situation, it is still possible to cling to the vision of 'Greater 'Israel',' 'Israeli' Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
Olmert participated in the committee's session to brief them on the resumption of negotiations with Syria and to address criticism of his apparent willingness to cede the Golan Heights as part of a final peace agreement. "Today we face the choice between Greater 'Israel' and a Jewish nation - the two are mutually exclusive. They only exist together in the minds of deluded fantasists who misconstrue reality," he said.
The 'Israeli' prime minister explained the decision to keep the talks under wraps despite the fact that the matter had been hotly debated by the committee on past occasions was the sensitive nature of the negotiations.
"Anyone in my chair understands that these moves need to be made with the utmost caution, and secrecy is a necessary part of that. Not even the entire cabinet could be privy to the information. I initiated this move in February 2007, with a record of four predecessors who went to Damascus and committed to painful concessions, and let no one put me to the test on proving those commitments - they are all accounted for."
As for international responses to the talks, particularly that of the United States, Olmert stressed that "there is not a single party in the world that told 'Israel' not to negotiate for peace. Regardless of this, I certainly shared our thoughts and the developments with our closest friends - as is natural.
"What tipped the scales what the burning question of what might happen if, heaven forbid, we would be drawn, due to a miscalculation, into a violent confrontation with Syria. Then I would be asked - how can it be that they were seeking peace and you did not even examine the possibility?"
Greater 'Israel' or Jewish state - not both... Olmert also touched on the Palestinian issue, saying that negotiations with the Palestinian Authority were serious and going forward in good faith, but that time was a vital factor in the peace efforts.
"I was one of those who thought the two-state solution was wrong, but that was a mistake," he said. "Most today understand that the choice is between two states for two peoples or one state in which all have an equal right to vote," Olmert said.