Palestinians accept Olmert peace offer

Thursday, October 02, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said that the recent peace offer made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is enough to get a final status agreement signed, but recognized that the outgoing Israeli leader does not have the ability to implement the proposal.

"We could have peace in two days" if Olmert's offer could be implemented, Abbas told a group of Muslim clerics at the tail end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Olmert made his offer in a Rosh Hashanah interview with Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot.

In the interview, Olmert said he was ready to withdraw from 93 percent of Judea and Samaria, including nearly all of eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. Olmert offered to make up the difference by giving the Palestinians 5.5 percent of sovereign Israeli land.

The proposed deal also included a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

Abbas said he hopes that Olmert's proposal will form the foundation of peace talks with his successor. The Palestinian leader said he would like to view Olmert's offer as a peace "deposit."

The international community tried to make sure that will be the case when the Middle East Quartet last week insisted that all Israeli offers, no matter how tentative, be made binding.

Meanwhile, Israeli opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated in a holiday interview with Israel National News that the nation does not have a viable Palestinian peace partner with whom to make a deal.

In another holiday interview with Israeli Internet portal Walla!, Netanyahu said that if he regains the prime minister's chair he will actually increase Jewish settlement activity and shelf all talk of a peace deal leading to the creation of a Palestinian Arab state.

There is no hope of a viable final status peace deal at this point, said Netanyahu, so the best thing to do is forge an economic arrangement with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria.

Polls conducted over the past year consistently show that Netanyahu will win the next national election by a healthy margin.

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