Former prime minister Olmert on Sunday defended US President Obama, saying that he has been a stalwart friend to Israel.

Responding to a question at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, Olmert said that Obama did not cut one penny from US aid to Israel, despite the worst economic crisis in recent history and despite the fact that the aid was promised years ago by former US President Bush.

Olmert also said that the settlements are an ongoing issue which has been at the heart of controversy for many years. "When you are genuinely interested in negotiating peace, you can still build in Har Homa" because Har Homa will remain in Israel under any agreement.

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