Olmert on UNGA: We're on verge of missed opportunity

In 'NY Times' op-ed, former PM warns of "unnecessary diplomatic clash," says Israel should seize chance with moderate Palestinian leaders.

September 22, 2011 11:19
1 minute read.
Abbas Bush and Olmert [file]

AbbasBushOlmert 520. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert responded with unease and foreboding to the unraveling events at the United Nations General Assembly, in an op-ed to The New York Times on Thursday.

"An unnecessary diplomatic clash between Israel and the Palestinians is taking shape in New York, and it will be harmful to Israel and to the future of the Middle East," Olmert said.

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Olmert expressed his views after start of the annual UNGA, in a week when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accelerated efforts to dissuade world leaders from voting in favor of the Palestinian statehood bid.

He said that he did not think wise Netanyahu's attempts to block the Palestinian appeal, adding that he "cannot but feel that we in the region are on the verge of missing an opportunity — one that we cannot afford to miss."

Olmert said that the parameters he had proposed as prime minister during peace negotiations in 2008 should be put on the table again as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had never formally rejected them. The offer included the establishment of a Palestinian State of equal size to pre-67 West Bank and Gaza with mutually agreed-upon land swaps, a shared Jerusalem, and the absorption of a small number of Palestinian refugees into Israel.

"The window of opportunity is limited. Israel will not always find itself sitting across the table from Palestinian leaders like Mr. Abbas and the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, who object to terrorism and want peace. Indeed, future Palestinian leaders might abandon the idea of two states and seek a one-state solution, making reconciliation impossible..." Olmert warned.

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