Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace. Olmert spoke at the J Street Gala dinner in Washington DC yesterday.
“Don’t tell me there is no partner. There is a partner. Abu-Mazen wants peace with Israel,” Olmert told the audience. “It may not be the same peace we want, but that’s why we negotiate.” Olmert added, however, that the prospects of making peace are not exclusively on the side of the State of Israel. “When we try to look at the entire picture, no one should relieve the Palestinians from their responsibilities.”
Olmert went on to speak at length about the prospects of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process – and his own peace plan that he presented to Abu-Mazen in 2008. The former Israeli PM told the audience that despite the immense pain of such a decision, “There should be no sovereignty over the Temple Mount – not yours and not ours.” After the remark he told the audience, “Don’t applaud – cry with me. For a Jew to offer this is possible only if you reach an inevitable conclusion that to secure an independent democratic Jewish state – you have to make this conclusion.”
On Iran, Olmert said no options should be ruled out; and that Israel ought to build capacities to deal with the situation in the event “we’ll have to secure the existence of the state of Israel – as a last resort, not the first one.”