Ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert tells Daily Beast that Palestinian request for upgraded UN status is congruent with 2-state solution, and says UN General Assembly resolution will lay foundation for peace talks.
By Yitzhak Benhorin
Washington – Despite an aggressive campaign by the United States to head off a UN vote on the Palestinian Authority’s bid for an upgraded status, the General Assembly was expected to grant the request on Thursday. And former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he sees no reason to resist the move.
“I believe that the Palestinian request from the United Nations is congruent with the basic concept of the two-state solution. Therefore, I see no reason to oppose it,” Olmert wrote in an e-mail message to Daily Beast reporter Bernard Avisahi.
“Once the United Nations will lay the foundation for this idea, we in Israel will have to engage in a serious process of negotiations, in order to agree on specific borders based on the 1967 lines, and resolve the other issues,” he added.
The former prime minister, who held peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his term, further posited that the UN resolution presents an opportunity to prop up moderate Palestinian leaders.
“It is time to give a hand to, and encourage, the moderate forces amongst the Palestinians. Abu-Mazen and Salam Fayyad need our help,” he said, referring to the PA’s president and prime minister. “It’s time to give it.”
Olmert arrives in the US this week for a series of lectures, including a talk at the Saban Forum in Washington, where he is expected to expand on his positions. On Monday he is scheduled to address the Israel Policy Forum in New York.