Olmert slams gov't, urges PM to answer to US requests

Former prime minister says, "Responsibility, foresight justify declaring new 2-month freeze."

October 13, 2010 07:58
2 minute read.
Ehud Olmert makes speech

Ehud Olmert speech 311. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government on Tuesday, calling on it to accede to requests made by the US to renew the West Bank settlement moratorium.

Speaking at a socio-economic conference staged by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, Olmert condemned Netanyahu’s decision not to accede to US President Barack Obama’s request that Israel declare a two-month extension of the West Bank building freeze, saying that the prime minister’s refusal harmed Israel’s strategic interests.

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“I don’t think that anyone seriously believes that the United States is not our closest and most dependable friend. The United States, the great superpower, says: ‘You held a building freeze for 10 months, now extend it by two months…’

“Sure we are an independent state, but doesn’t reason, a sense of responsibility and foresight, justify giving two more months?” asked Olmert.

“Someone needs to ask where all this is going. We can refuse the efforts by friendly states, but will we then be able to continue to conduct a relationship of goodwill with them in the future?”

Olmert said Netanyahu’s government should stop arguing with the international community, explaining that it could lead to Israel’s political isolation and damage Israel’s economy. “You think that it’s OK to argue with the whole world, to offend the whole world, and at the same time to enjoy the economic fruits these states have to offer?

“I don’t want to be a doomsday prophet, but a foreign policy that contributes to Israel’s isolation may cause inescapable financial damage,” said Olmert.

“There are those who believe it is possible to separate the political situation from the economic situation and these people use the phrase ‘economic peace,’” Olmert said, alluding to Netanyahu. “This is a great phrase but in reality it doesn’t actually exist.”

“When the economy is stable, there is a temptation to believe the illusion that the economy and its status can be separated from the political environment. As someone who was a partner and held responsibility, I say it is impossible to separate the economic development from the political situation. We have yet to feel the full significance of the link,” said Olmert.

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