Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) speaks to Yaakov Katz at the 8th annual Jerusalem Post Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert criticized the peacemaking approach of US President Donald Trump at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on Sunday.
As prime minister, Olmert met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas more than 100 times and in September 2008 offered him 100% of the West Bank with land swaps, thousands of Palestinian refugees entering Israel, a Palestinian state with Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem as its capital and the Old City internationalized.
Interviewed on stage by Jerusalem Post
editor Yaakov Katz, Olmert suggested that the Trump administration follow his lead and do more to reach out to the Palestinians.
“I don’t know the president, but I know that he is especially sensitive not to appear to be failing in anything he does,” Olmert said. “If he calls a peace plan the ‘Deal of the Century,’ he must think there is a good chance it would succeed.
For it to be successful, it has to be at least a little bit appealing to the other side. It will be a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, not between Israel and America. I think he will propose something equally uncomfortable to Israel and the Palestinians.”
Olmert called talk of applying Israeli law to West Bank settlements “counterproductive.” He defended the 83-year-old Abbas’s chances of reaching an agreement.
“Don’t think old people are not capable of doing historic things,” said Olmert, who is 73.
Regarding his own political future, he said he would not run in the September 17 election, but did not rule out a future comeback. He mocked former prime minister Ehud Barak for considering running despite his lack of popularity.
“If they have a choice which Ehud they prefer, the public would prefer, they would not prefer the Ehud who is running,” Olmert said. “His coming back won’t make a difference. I will look at politics as an outsider for the time being.”
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