Olmerde be gone!

Olmert blasted for backing concessions

Obama sends anti-Israel “diplomat” to talk with Egypt and Syria

Olmert: Israel must cede parts of Jerusalem, return to 1967 border

Middle East News

Jerusalem – Israeli caretaker prime minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that Israel must cede parts of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

‘If we are determined to preserve the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel, we must inevitably relinquish, with great pain, parts of our homeland, of which we dreamt and for which we yearned and prayed for generations,’ Olmert told a memorial service on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, marking 13 years according to the Hebrew calendar since the assassination of late Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin.

‘And we must relinquish Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and return to that territory which comprised the State of Israel until 1967, with the necessary amendments stemming from the realities created on ground,’ he added.

Olmert, who resigned late September amid corruption allegations and continues to head a transitional government until early elections are held on February 10, urged his future successor to avoid postponing a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the new leader of Olmert’s centrist Kadima party, and former hawkish premier Benjamin Netanyahu of the opposition Likud party, are the two leading contenders.

‘If, God forbid, we drag our feet, we might lose the support for the idea of two states. The alternative is incomprehensible. Everyone understands it,’ Olmert warned.

Referring to the Islamic Hamas movement, which refuses to recognize Israel, he urged: ‘A new regime may take control of the Palestinian territories and be radical and not open to the negotiation process.’

‘The moment of truth has come, and there is no escaping it. We can miss it, we can postpone it, at a heavy price, for many more years of bloodshed and unending agonies.’

Addressing a special session of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, later Monday, Olmert vowed to continue peace negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria during his final months in office ‘as part of a genuine effort to reach an agreement, or at least establish its foundations, so that it cannot be evaded in the future.’

He was defying critics who have protested that as a caretaker prime minister he lacks legitimacy to make binding concessions.

Those critics have included the opposition Likud, which is trying to push through a bill that would make it illegal for transitional governments to conduct peace negotiations.

But even Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, of the coalition Labour Party, have argued that while he can continue talks according to their current format with the Palestinians and Syrians to keep the process going, it would be ‘immoral’ for Olmert to sign any deals.

The White House admitted late last week that it was unlikely Israel and the Palestinians would meet their end-of-year deadline for reaching a peace deal. The negotiations with Syria, resumed in the spring for the first time since they broke off in 2000, are in their preliminary stage and held indirectly under Turkish mediation.

Although former premier Barak negotiated Jerusalem in the botched 2000 Camp David peace summit with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Olmert in a newspaper interview given earlier this autumn became the first Israeli premier to publicly state Israel should give up part of Jerusalem for peace.

He himself however has thus far declined to put Jerusalem on the table in his talks with Abbas, proposing instead to reach a deal that would postpone a settlement of the highly sensitive issue.

Abbas has rejected that offer, insisting on a ‘comprehensive agreement’ that deals with all of the core issues of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, including Jerusalem.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995 by a right-wing fanatic Jew opposed to his peace moves with the Palestinians.


PM Olmert’s Political Speech at the Special Knesset Session Marking Thirteen Years Since the Murder of PM Yitzhak Rabin
Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA:

“I will defend your right to agree with me”

And so, Ehud Olmert, in his possibly his last speech before leaving the 
stage, grabs the tar and throws the feathers at anyone who has the chutzpah 
to participate in the democratic process expressing a view that gets in the 
way of the peace juggernaut.

“Yitzhak Rabin was murdered 13 years ago as a result of a methodical 
campaign of hate, incitement and instigation, and in which many parties 
played a part – near and far, fellow Israelis and consultants from abroad - 
until someone evil and despicable drew the murder weapon.”

Since he apparently didn’t mean Avishai Raviv and the shabbak campaign of 
hate, incitement and instigation that was designed to undermine the 
opposition to Oslo, he must have in mind the many fine citizens who devoted 
themselves to protesting the fiasco known as Oslo.

“The Government will continue to strengthen the country’s borders, to ready 
a response for those who attack it, to stop the terrorists who threaten us - 
while at the same time not stopping to conduct negotiations on all fronts 
and with all possible partners – the Palestinians, the Syrians, the 
Lebanese – as part of a genuine effort to reach an agreement, or at least 
establish its foundations, so that it cannot be evaded in the future” = I 
will try my best to lock the next democratically elected government into 
retreating to the ’67 lines.

PM Olmert’s Speech at the Special Knesset Session Marking Thirteen Years 
Since the Murder of PM Yitzhak Rabin

Madam Speaker of the Knesset, Dalia Itzik,
Honorable President of the State, Shimon Peres,
President of the Supreme Court, Justice Dorit Beinish,
Members of the Rabin Family,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Members of Knesset,
Distinguished Guests,

Every year we return to the Knesset in order to make proclamations in 
commemoration of a prime minister, the only one in the history of the State, 
who was murdered by a fellow Jew. Yitzhak Rabin – may his memory be 
blessed. We have a choice – to speak festive words, fill the space of this 
special hall with slogans, pay lip service to the special circumstances 
obligated by this special event – or we can pretend for a moment that we are 
in a closed room, sealed off from the clamorous voices outside and speak to 
one another in simple words whose meaning cannot be mistaken. Let us speak 

I do not intend to stand at this podium many more times, but while I am 
here, I wish to say to you that which is essential to say so that we do not 
miss this shared opportunity to do some soul-searching about our existence, 
our future, our fate – with honesty.

Yitzhak Rabin was murdered 13 years ago as a result of a methodical campaign 
of hate, incitement and instigation, and in which many parties played a 
part – near and far, fellow Israelis and consultants from abroad – until 
someone evil and despicable drew the murder weapon.

Shortly after Rabin’s murder, Haim Guri, the late Prime Minister’s friend 
and fellow classmate at the Kadouri Agricultural School, wrote the following 
lines: “I had heard that a political murder such as this one could be a 
turning point in the life of nations, during which consciousness changes and 
things seem different, and therefore Israel afterwards would necessarily be 
better. They say that an entire young generation, one thrown into such a 
frightening experience, would never make peace with the violence, the 
blindness, the hatred and the despair which led to this disaster.”

Unfortunately, Guri’s hope has yet to be realized. Today, 13 years later, 
the incitement is not reduced; the instigation has not decreased; the hatred 
has not dissipated. Israeli citizens strike Palestinians who wish to 
harvest their olives, as they have for centuries in the places where their 
personal and family homes were located, with brutal violence – and no one 
puts a stop to it.

Young Israelis, gripped by messianic dreams which have no basis in the 
reality of our lives – beat our soldiers, break their bones, threaten their 
lives – and no one stops them.

I say these difficult words not just to other people, but also to us, to the 
Government, to the law enforcement agencies, to my ministerial colleagues, 
and first and foremost to myself.

We stand here using grandiose words about what was and can never happen 
again, and accept those things which are increasingly leading to the next 
murder – and we do not do the simplest, most obvious things to stop it. 
This cannot continue. I will not let it continue.

There is no political consideration or temporary convenience that can 
prevent me from exercising all the powers granted the prime minister in 
order to stop it. And I am not thinking of myself, but rather of the prime 
minister who will follow me.

Thirteen years ago, the late Yitzhak Rabin, along with Shimon Peres and a 
great many good people, started out on a path which was unavoidable. There 
was a basis for disagreement with them – and I too was part of it and I 
shared my opinion and even voted against them. However, the direction was 
inevitable and reality proved that it was stronger than the murderer’s 
bullets. I am not trying to retroactively justify the Oslo Accords, with 
which I disagreed. However, a direction was defined – and that direction 
was inevitable.

Since that time, after having learned to live with the feelings of guilt and 
pain resulting from the costs of the Oslo Accords – the continuation of 
terror and the disappointment of the diplomatic standstill – we have 
returned to the heart of the disagreement. Only this time, the decisive 
moment is growing closer and we are standing at its threshold.

This decision will be difficult and painful and will intensify the internal 
disagreement which for years has been and is being conducted by the Israeli 
public. Any new Government will not be able to avoid such a confrontation. 
If it wants to: it will have to risk a difficult domestic confrontation 
unlike any previously experienced. If it refuses: it will lose the 
international sympathy and support granted to the State of Israel by the 
international community since the Disengagement and for the duration of the 
present Government’s tenure.

Whoever thinks and believes that he can avoid the decision while at the same 
time maintaining Israel’s international position; whoever assumes he can 
continue the internal status quo and also benefit from the warm and 
supporting embrace of the leaders of the Western world, especially those who 
support Israel and are friendly towards it – is deluding himself and may 
deceive the Israeli public. Whoever thinks it is possible to avoid the 
decision and continue to build a broad system of relations with Arab and 
Muslim countries, as we are doing today – is living in a dream.

I am convinced that we have no realistic option other than an internal 
decision, and I am afraid of its consequences to the fragile fabric of the 
tense relations which already typify sections of the Israeli public. The 
Government, any government, must tell the truth, and this truth, 
unfortunately, will obligate us to rip away many portions of the homeland - 
in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. This decision, when it 
is made, will not be an indictment against the settlers, the vast majority 
of whom are not violent, but rather an integral part of a dedicated, loyal 
public, one which loves the land and builds it up.

This is the time to appeal to that public and say: you are unparalleled in 
your love of the land, in your dedication to it, in your willingness to 
sacrifice yourselves for it. There were moments, which we were all party 
to, during which we desired with all our hearts to leave our indelible mark 
on the land. I too was party to it. We were wrong; we did not see the big 
picture; we thought we could succeed in having a country which was Jewish, 
democratic, decent, violence-free, one which welcomed and embraced its 
neighbors within the borders of our sovereignty. It will not work. It is 
already not working. It claimed a price from us which we do not have the 
moral strength to bear – and it will claim even heavier costs – which will 
unravel the fragile bonds which still preserve the social solidarity of 
Israeli society.

I am not criticizing anybody nor am I preaching. I do not have the right to 
do so. However, I do have the duty to appeal to you, the builders and 
settlers, and tell you with great respect and appreciation that you too must 
search your souls and reach a decision.

Not due to conflict and strife, not due to the rift which will tear the most 
sensitive fabric of our agonizing society, but rather as a result of 
inevitable acceptance, as a result of noble understanding – that this is the 
only way – one strewn with dangers and uncertainty, paved with obstacles - 
but the only way. What is the significance of these memorial ceremonies in 
honor of Yitzhak Rabin if they do include the understanding that we cannot 
assist – under any circumstances, in any case – in the creation of an 
atmosphere that regresses to those dark days.

I see you before me – Dalia, Yuval, Rachel and the entire family. You do 
not need the collective memory of your father in these events, for he is 
engraved in your personal consciousnesses each and every day of the year.

You are here, we are here, the people of Israel are here – in order to learn 
a lesson, to establish stable values so that we can build a future worthy of 
the actions and memory of your father, a leader of Israel, a courageous 
fighter in the battlefield and in the field of diplomacy.

I am bound by this command – every day, until the final day of this 
Government. The Government will continue to strengthen the country’s 
borders, to ready a response for those who attack it, to stop the terrorists 
who threaten us – while at the same time not stopping to conduct 
negotiations on all fronts and with all possible partners – the 
Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanese – as part of a genuine effort to 
reach an agreement, or at least establish its foundations, so that it cannot 
be evaded in the future.

This is how I honor the late Yitzhak Rabin – and so will the Government of 
Israel under my leadership – all its members, anyone who serves in it.

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