Home > Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United States of America > Olmert says Gaza flotilla inquiry unnecessary; tells details of peace offer he made as P.M. to Palestinians

Olmert says Gaza flotilla inquiry unnecessary; tells details of peace offer he made as P.M. to Palestinians

 HAIFA (Press Release)–“It’s about time that Israel rid itself of its inquiry committee regime. I hope the prime minister opposes such a commission, which would only cause dispute between Israel’s government system and public discourse that awaits the ‘who will be probed’, ‘who will be fired’, and ‘who will pay the price’. There is no need for probes in order to know what is right and what is not, what is ethical and what is not”, said Ehud Olmert this week at a lecture hosted by the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa.

Mr. Olmert stated that he salutes the commandos, whom he personally sent out more than once to carry out secret operations that were successful, and added that the government should not come under attack at a time like this. Mr. Olmert said that the messages from Turkey are intolerable and that the Turkish criticism is not justified. Turkey’s great strategic importance, however, compels Israel to make every possible effort to get its relationship with Turkey back on course, Mr. Olmert said. “Turkey was a fair, accurate and cautious mediator in the negotiations it held with Syria during my term,” he said.

“We must act in a way that affords us flexibility and the ability to exert power when we need to, without international criticism, without investigation and without threats; and the only way to do that is by means of political process. We fought 33 days in the Second Lebanon War and no international forum opposed us; nor was there an inquiry committee. At the end of the day, the war ended with a UN Security Council resolution that was formulated along with the Israeli government. One day after “Operation Cast Lead”, a delegation of European heads of state arrived in Jerusalem to give encouragement and to give support for our right for self-defense, and that was only because we presented a far-reaching political formula. The wise thing to do is to create the ability to activate power without threats or international commissions,” he stated. “As long as there is no political process, we will be confronted by Israel’s worst condition ever in the international arena.”

Mr. Olmert spread out the principles of the political program that he presented to the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, along the lines of ’67, with land exchanges. “We proposed that the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem remain under Israeli sovereignty and that the Arab neighborhoods be under Palestinian sovereignty. It was with a heavy heart that I made that proposal, but so long as the Arab neighborhoods are not under Palestinian sovereignty, we will never achieve peace. I also proposed that the holy sites be managed by Israel, the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian state. With regard to the refugees, I proposed that the if and how many refugees are received in Israel must be decided by Israel alone, and I informed them that we would agree to taking in no more than 5,000 people over five years. Unfortunately, to this day I have not heard a clear response on this from the Palestinians,” he said, and called upon the government of Israel initiate a political process that will make Israel an initiator instead of being dragged.

The audience at the lecture posed questions for Mr. Olmert, and he was asked about the situation in which a public figure – the foreign minister was the example given – waits more than a decade for a decision to be made about the presentation of a bill of indictment against him. “No other is more suited than I to be asked that question; but the fact that it’s correct to ask me does not mean that it is correct for me to answer it in public. I will give my answers somewhere else and they will be unequivocal,” he said.

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Preceding provided by the University of Haifa

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