As he prepares to leave office, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert found time to meet with US Mideast envoy George Mitchell during his first official visit to Israel in the Obama administration.
Topping their discussions were issues pertaining to a Gaza ceasefire and related matters but Olmert found time to entertain his high-level guest who is also seeking to advance the White House’s agenda vis-à-vis the PA (Palestinian Authority).
According to reports, the prime minister signaled Israel’s approval to the expulsion of 60,000 of the approximately 250,000 residents of Yehuda and Shomron towards realizing a ‘final status’ agreement between Israel and the PA.
While Olmert already indicated a “massive evacuation” was required in a Rosh Hashanah interview in Yediot Achronot, this marks a step forward towards the implementation of such a move chas v’sholom.
Eastern areas of Yerushalayim would fall under PA rule and religious sites would be under an international jurisdiction, promising access to the three major religions. (We see how the promised access has worked regarding Kever Yosef in Shechem and the Shalom Al Yisrael Shul in Yericho, with both having been burned to the ground numerous times and constantly being defiled by PA residents).
There will be territorial contiguity for PA residents in Yehuda and Shomron, connecting to Gaza via a network of roadways, including a tunnel system. So-called refugees from 1948 will not be granted a right of return, but in the past, the PA has stated there will be no deal without the return of at least some of these peoples’ families.
When asked why these matters are not being formulated into a draft agreement, Olmert explained PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) cut ties until following the elections on February 10th.
Olmert proudly told Mitchell that he heard senior Bush administration officials’ state the current offer “Is the most generous Israeli offer to date towards reaching a settlement”.
There is much anger in Jerusalem from all the candidates seeking the premiership, realizing the prime minister, who has a limited number of days in office, is seeking to commit the incoming government.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)