In an interview with Israel Radio broadcast on Sunday, Ehud Olmert reiterated his determination to fix Israel's borders with or without an agreement with the Palestinians.

Olmert's plan calls for giving the new Hamas-led Palestinian government time to decide whether it will moderate its views and then holding an internal dialogue to determine what kind of borders Israelis want.

"We should have agreement among ourselves on the borders and then negotiate with the international community," Olmert said.

Deciding on the borders was necessary, he said, "to separate ourselves from the Palestinians". He said that his plan would ensure that "at no point will we be hostage to the will of the Palestinians".

International backing

Olmert said he was convinced that he could get international backing for his project, saying he believed that there was a willingness in Washington and among other countries to  discuss the arguments seriously.

"I spoke about negotiations with the United States and the international community and I spoke about final borders that the entire international community will support, including the United States of America," Olmert said.

"At no point will we be hostage to the will of the Palestinians"

Ehud Olmert,
interim Israeli prime minister

According to Haaretz Service, Olmert told Israel Radio that one of the aims of his proposed plan was safeguarding the Jewish state with a "stable Jewish majority".

Olmert's centrist Kadima party remains the favourite to win elections on Tuesday, despite a recent drop in opinion polls.

Olmert's plans to establish permanent borders for Israel by 2010 had earlier led him to express hopes of winning more than 40 seats, to give him the leverage necessary to push the proposal through.

He had stated in an earlier interview that opponents of the plan would not be welcome in his coalition government, and threatened that Israel would unilaterally draw its borders if Hamas refused to recognise Israel, accept past Israeli-Palestinian agreements, and renounce violence.

Kadima was founded by Ariel Sharon shortly before he suffered a massive stroke on January 4, 2006 that left the prime minister comatose.

Olmert consequently became interim prime minister, but Kadima has been steadily losing support since then.