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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Only an Outgoing Politician Can Say This

Israel will have to give up "almost all" of the West Bank areas it occupies and accept the division of Jerusalem in order to take advantage of a rapidly closing window of opportunity for peace with the Arabs, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview published Monday. "The decision we are going to have to make is a decision we have been refusing for 40 years to look at open-eyed," the Israeli leader told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper. "The time has come to say these things. The time has come to put them on the table."

Olmert has resigned from the premiership because of a host of corruption investigations. But he remains in a caretaker position while Tzipi Livni, his successor as head of the ruling Kadima party, works to assemble a new government. His interview with the prominent Israeli daily amounted to both a challenge to beliefs held as central to the Jewish state and a personal mea culpa. Though fresh rounds of talks with the Palestinian Authority and Syria were launched under his watch, Olmert acknowledged some of the positions he was advocating in the interview -- such as the division of Jerusalem -- were things he opposed during most of his 35-year political career.


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