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Russian President Vladimir Putin is committed to Israel and would fall in line with the international stance against Hamas, in spite of its recent overtures to the terrorist group, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told supporters at a political rally of mayor in Rishon Lezion.
He also spoke of his determination to fight terror while at the same time pursuing a diplomatic agenda.
In speaking of Putin, he said, "Russia gave me a clear, unequivocal message." He said Putin promised to support three elements in its commitment to stand with the international community in support of Israel.
While he did not outline the elements, one of his advisers said he meant the insistence that Hamas recognize the State of Israel and that Hamas accept all agreements recognized by Israel and the PA as well as denounce terror.
Olmert said that Putin told him, "Russia is obligated forever not to harm the state of Israel," he said. Putin said he had promised this to Sharon and was now passing this pledge to Olmert as Sharon's successor.
Putin is scheduled to meet with a Hamas delegation in Moscow later this week.
In looking out at the mostly male crowd of some 85 mayors and regional council leaders who are Kadima supporters, Olmert said that he considered them an important base of support because he himself had been mayor of Jerusalem. A new Dialog Poll conducted for Channel 10 showed Kadima slipping to 37 seats, continuing a downward slide of recent weeks. Labor remained at 19, while the Likud went up to 15.
While he did not specifically address the terror attacks of the past two days, he promised to relentlessly pursue terror even while preserving the nation's diplomatic option. "No Kassam rocket launcher will have one minute of rest, we will pursue them day and night." But at the same time he said he did not want to eliminate even the smallest of diplomatic options.
If there is a chance to move forward diplomatically with the Palestinians,"we have to be there to help make it happen," he said.
That is the difference between Kadima and the other parties, said Olmert. Those on the right are promising to conquer Gaza anew and those on the left are ready to make endless concessions, he said.
"We will not look at every Palestinian as the enemy. The enemy is Hamas," said Olmert.