Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has put his plans for a unilateral pullout from much of the West Bank on hold for now, but has not abandoned the idea altogether, a cabinet minister said Friday, confirming a newspaper report.
The Haaretz daily said Olmert told Cabinet ministers this week that in light of the Israel-Hizbullah war, the pullout was no longer his top agenda. Support in Israel for unilateral moves appears to be dwindling after troops waged war this summer in two territories Israel left on its own, without a peace deal - Lebanon and Gaza.
Asked about the Haaretz report, Housing Minister Meir Shitreet told Army Radio: "It is my assessment that the prime minister will not deal with this (the West Bank pullout) in the coming period, because it's really not on the agenda."
"I cannot say that the prime minister has dropped the plan. I don't think he has reached such a conclusion," said Shitreet, who opposes a unilateral pullout and favors trying to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians. Shitreet is a member of Olmert's Kadima Party.