Inside the Middle East - Blog
September 30, 2008
Olmert Bombshell: Give Back 67 Land For Peace

The outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may be on his way out, but he seems determined not to leave quietly.

In an interview in daily newspaper Yediot Aharanot, Olmert says Israel should exchange most of the West Bank the Golan Heights in any peace deal with the Arabs.

"The decision we are going to have to make is a decision we have been refusing for 40 years to look at open-eyed," Olmert told Yediot Aharonot. "The time has come to say these things. The time has come to put them on the table."

But here's the big surprise. The Israeli leader says he feels that if his country is to live in true peace with the Palestinians, then it must consider exiting East Jerusalem.

"This decision is difficult, terrible, a decision that contradicts our natural instincts, our innermost desires, our collective memories, the prayers of the Jewish people for 2,000 years."

(Photo AFP/Getty)
Ehud Olmert came to power by accident and since being in power has created catastrophic accidents for Israel and its Arab neighbors. Olmert took over after the elected prime minister Ariel Sharon had a stroke. Whereas his three predecessors (Netanyahu, Barak, and Sharon) were directly elected by the people and received between 50-62% of the vote, Olmert was never directly elected by the people. He garnered a mere 22% of the vote in the 2006 elections as head of the Kadima party. Olmert has never had a mandate from the people. On top of that, he has been involved in approximately a half a dozen corruption scandals, released hundreds of terrorists in prisoner swaps or as "goodwill gestures", and initiated an unsuccessful and costly war in Lebanon in 2006. For the past 2 years of his tenure, Olmert has had an approval rating of approximately 3%. Olmert will do almost anything to stay in power. The only difference between him and the Arab dictators of the region is the fact that Olmert hasn't used force to stay in power. The people of Israel want Olmert to leave office immediately. Although he has "officially" resigned, he could remain in power as the caretaker prime minister until spring 2009. Olmert's place is in a jail cell and not the prime minister's office. The leader of the Israeli political party Shas, Arye Deri, was forced to spend time in prison for corruption. Olmert has more corruption scandals than Deri, yet through his connections Olmert probably won't spend a day in prison even though the Israeli police (who have conducted numerous investigations against him) have called for his conviction.

If Olmert really wants to give up Jerusalem, then the first step should be for him to give up his home on the exclusive Cremieux Street in Jerusalem. After all, his purchase of the house is one of his many corruption scandals. He bought the house at hundreds of thousands of dollars below market value and is under investigation for offering political favors to the construction company that built his home.

As far as the Golan Heights is concerned, before 1967 this strategic plateau was used by Syria to launch attacks against northern Israel. Israel captured the territory during a war which was started against her. It is an international double standard when a country is forced to give up land that it gained in a war which another side started. If Israel is forced to give up the Golan Heights, then Russia and Poland should be forced to return the territory of East Prussia to Germany. If the Syrians deserve to get their land back from a war that they started, then the Germans should get their land back from a war that they started.
Words of wisdom from a guy who has no more future in the public scene. I'm sure a lot of people agree with him but they wouldn't dare and speak up.
Although most Israelis agree with Olmert, it makes no difference whatsoever.

The Arabs do not want peace, except without the Jewish state. Read their newspaper, watch their TV stations, look at their political cartoons. Peace without Israel YES. With Israel-NEVER

Their slogans-return of the refugees to Israel proper, ferre Palestine etc prove it.

Even the so-called Saudi peace plan calls for the refugees to return.

So even with good will from Israel, nothing will happen because Israel is not going to agree to the Arab dictat and commit national suicide.

Unless, of course, California and New Mexico revert to Mexico, Danzig, Breslau and Koenigsberg to Germany and a large chunk of Russia to opoland. And do not forget the refugees from the Sudetenland, they must be allowed to return to theirhomes, as well as the Syrian, Algerian, Lybian, Maroccan, Tunisian, Iraqui, Yemenite and Iranian Jews.

@3:05; "Words of wisdom from a guy who has no more future in the public scene."

Olmert is a brilliant politician. He has had the wisdom from early on. Whether it was serving as a reporter for an IDF magazine instead of fighting on the battlefields in Israels wars, becoming a life-long "civil servant" and amassing a great deal of personal wealth along the way through illegal activities, deciding to complete an army officers course at the age of 35 because he realized as a politician he could not go far otherwise, or whether it was sending his own son to study in France instead of sending him to die on the battlefields of Lebanon like he sent other parents' sons. Yes, Ehud Olmert has had the wisdom to manipulate the country and remain in office, but his recent remarks are in no way "words of wisdom".

"I am sure a lot of people agree with him but they wouldn't dare and speak up."

First of all, let me correct your statement. Israel is a democracy that allows things that other countries would ban, such as allowing members of parliament to advocate the destruction of the State of Israel and allowing Supreme Court justices to legislate from the bench and even release convicted Nazi war criminals (i.e. John Demanjuk). So there is definitely freedom of speech for some, especially on the far-left of the political spectrum. The only time freedom of speech is curtailed is when the unelected Israeli Supreme Court sees a threat to its power. Whether it comes from politicians who want to limit the court's activist role, or whether it comes from the nation's own Minister of Justice, Daniel Friedmann, who has tried albeit unsuccessfully to pass legislation bringing about changes to the Supreme Court's unchecked power. Most Western democracies have a balance of power such as in the US. The United Kingdom even has a law that bans their Supreme Court from overturning legislation that has been passed by parliament. Switzerland has a referendum system for its citizens. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Israel concerning the unlimited powers of its Supreme Court.
Nevertheless, Israelis have spoken in national surveys although they have been repeatedly denied referendums on ceding parts of their country or removing corrupt polticians such as Olmert. The recent surveys have also shown that the majority of Israelis want early elections and Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.

Many Israelis are open to compromise with the Palestinians on the West Bank, not because they want to reward them for killing innocent Israelis in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks, but mainly because of the demographic problem there. More Palestinians live in the West Bank than Israelis. In Jerusalem and the Golan it is the opposite. The vast majority(more than 2/3)of Israelis are against any concessions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. They reason why most Israelis are against concessions on Jerusalem is because it was declared the capital of Israel and the Jewish people more than 3,000 years ago by King David. It is also home to Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall. Jews were prevented from praying at the Western Wall from 1948-1967 when it was under Jordanian control, even though the Jewish claim to the city predates any Christian, Muslim, or "Palestinian" claim to the city.

Most Israelis are also against returning the Golan Heights to Syria. First of all, Syria used this strategic plateau to attack Israel on virtually a daily basis until 1967. By retaining the Golan Heights, Israel is able to defend against any Syrian attack and secure its vital water resources in the freshwater lake, the famous Sea of Galilee.

Very few people agree with Olmert, as even the majority of the Israeli left-wing is against any concessions on Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. And people are not afraid to "speak up" considering that most of Israel has spoken up against ceding Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.
olmert remind me of American presidents .they talk about Palestinian rights after they leave office.1967 land will not return by promises but by force.Hizbollah in Lebanon proved that by liberating their land by force from Israel.if the Arabs decided to liberate the occupied land by force Israel will have no choice but to leave like they did in Lebanon.
The Palestinians do want peace. They want to be able to get a decent education, work the land that their ancestors owned and provided them with a moderate standard of living. It is beyond their wildest dreams that Israeli politicians would agree to a fair settlement with them. But, I do believe that many Israelis would like to see an end to their conflict with the Palestinians.
@9:09; There is no need for the Arabs to resort to force when they will get the land without it. The Israeli left-wing is more than happy to give up the whole country as long as they get to keep Tel Aviv. If the Arabs were smart, they would sit back and let the Israeli left-wing destroy the country. The Palestinians have always carried out terrorist attacks against Israel and Israel was once portrayed as the underdog and the victim. 20 years ago, nobody in the world cared about the Palestinians. What changed was the illegal and often seditious activities of the Israeli left-wing that brought the conflict to the world's attention and portrayed the Israeli victim as the perpetrator.

Why should Israel expect other countries to call Palestinians who carry out suicide bombings "terrorists" when some of the Israeli media calls them "militants" or "activists"?!

Why should Israel expect the world to feel sorry for the residents of Sderot, who have to suffer constant Palestinian rocket attacks, when the Israeli government does nothing to stop the attacks?!

Why should Israel expect other countries to ban terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, when it lets its own Arab members of parliament meet with these terrorists?!

Why should Israelis expect to be properly represented in the UN, when Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni chose the new Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, (a person with no previous diplomatic experience) just because she was a woman. Livni said, "It was important to me to appoint a woman to represent Israel in such an important place." If a foreign minister of another country made a similar statement and replaced the word "woman" with the word "man", the foreign minister would be branded a sexist and immediately fired. In Israel, Foreign Minister Livni will most likely be rewarded by becoming prime minister.

Why should Israel expect Europe to be more friendly, when it appoints ambassadors to European countries who don't speak the language of the country let alone proper English?!

Why should Israel expect the world to take the Holocaust seriously, when thousands of concentration camp survivors in Israel are living in extreme poverty because their attorneys have taken most of their reparations, or their money has been squandered by irresponsible Israeli governments?!

Why should Israel expect its students to know about Jewish history and the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel, when instead more emphasis is put on teaching the Palestinian "Nakba" ("Catastrophe")?!

The Arabs are to blame for never letting Israel live in peace, but Israel is also to blame for causing many of the problems itself.

The Arabs will not achieve the destruction of Israel through terrorism or force. They will achieve the destruction of Israel by letting the Israeli left-wing destroy the country.

The Middle East could be a wonderful place the day that the Arab dictators disappear and their peoples get to experience democracy. Likewise, the Middle East could be a wonderful place when Israel's unelected activist judges and corrupt politicians are forced to step down. Let's give the people of Israel and the Arab world a chance to decide their own destinies without their corrupt leaders. Then there will be peace. Israelis and Arabs have more in common than they have apart and if it was up to the people of the region (and not their governments), peace would have been achieved a long time ago.
to 1.10 you wrote.
The Middle East could be a wonderful place the day that the Arab dictators disappear and their peoples get to experience democracy.

my answer to you is, what is keeping Israel dictating its will on the Palestinians and stealing their land are these Arab dictators. if these dictators disappear Israel then better watch for its survival because when the Arabs have freedom they will not give Israel the chance to do what she is doing now.
"my answer to you is, what is keeping Israel dictating its will on the Palestinians and stealing their land are these Arab dictators. if these dictators disappear Israel then better watch for its survival because when the Arabs have freedom they will not give Israel the chance to do what she is doing now."

This assumes, of course that the Arabs are capable of successfully defeating the Israeli military and occupying the country. Depending on how alliances work out this may also involve defeating the US military as well. The history of the Arab military and present weakness in comparison over the past 500 years makes it unlikely they will be able to do so.

Wars are not won by "terrorists". They are won by a superior military backed by political will. Terrorism is the action of the weak whose military power is insignificant. If Arabs want to be more successful in imposing their will on Israel, they would do better to follow the example of Israel and develop a competent military funded by a developed economy and military-industrial complex. Using oil money to buy up Russian, French, Chinese and American arms is a good way to stay a loser.

If you want to defeat Israel, you must first imitate her successes.
6.19 wrote
Wars are not won by "terrorists". They are won by a superior military backed by political will.

this is exactly my point political will, will bring military superiority.that will come when these made in the west dictators leave the scene.

political will is more important than military superiority.I will give you examples the American lost to the Vietnamese,the French lost to the Algerians,the Israelis lost to few thousand dedicated Lebanese fighters
.6.19 wrote

The history of the Arab military and present weakness in comparison over the past 500 years makes it unlikely they will be able to do so.
my answer to him is when the Arabs had the freedom and free will they built empires and they were the super power at the time.
@3:05; If the world really wants to hear what the Israeli people want, then why does it ignore the polls that show that a majority of Israelis want former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to return?! Olmert's government resembled a dictatorship more than it did a democracy. The same will hold true if Tzipi Livni becomes prime minister after winning a Kadima party primary by only a few votes, where only Kadima party members were allowed to vote and there were allegations of voter fraud. As long as Israeli voters are prevented from going to the polls and voting in new elections, any Israeli government that assumes power is undemocratic and should not be recognized by the international community.
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