(photo credit: AP)
Candid TV footage of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Italian counterpart, Romano Prodi, showed Olmert coaching Prodi on what to say at their joint press conference in Rome.
In the footage, taken by a cameraman for Channel 10 TV, the two men are seen - apparently unaware they are being filmed - conversing Wednesday about what to say at the press conference, held during Olmert's visit to Rome.
Olmert tells Prodi that he should mention the international community's demands that the Hamas-led Palestinian government recognize Israel, renounce terror and respect signed peace agreements.
"It's important for me that you emphasize the three principles of the Quartet, that they are not negotiable, that they are the basis for everything. Please say this," Olmert tells Prodi, leaning close to the Italian leader.
Olmert also asks Prodi to mention Israel's status as a Jewish state, implying that he rules out a key Palestinian demand that millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants be allowed into Israel, changing its demographic balance and possibly making Jews a minority. "I have heard you say something about the Jewish state," Olmert prompts Prodi.
At the press conference, Prodi obliged. "Every peace process must go through a renouncing of violence, recognition of the state of Israel, recognition of past agreements and, I must add, also the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state," Prodi said.