Olmert: Stable Israeli border by 2010

Israel's acting prime minister has promised to establish permanent borders for the Jewish state within four years if he wins the elections this month.

    Olmert says he can give Hamas 'reasonable' time to change

    In an interview published in the right-wing Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Ehud Olmert said he intended to "get Israel's permanent borders, whereby we will completely separate from the majority of the Palestinian population and preserve a large and stable Jewish majority in Israel".


    Olmert also said he would not meet Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, and pledged that Israel would begin work to link east Jerusalem to the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim.


    The full text of the interview is scheduled to appear on Friday.


    He said his guidelines for the route of the borders included the large West Bank settlement bloc of Gush Etzion, the Ariel region of settlements in the north, the Jerusalem "envelope", Maale Adumim and the Jordan River as a security border.




    The Jerusalem Post also reported that he vowed to go ahead in four years with the planned construction of 3500 housing units on the edge of Maale Adumim as part of plans to connect the  settlement to annexed east Jerusalem.


    Olmert had said last year that the building plans were frozen, after US criticism.


    Should he win this month's election, Olmert said, he would wait a "reasonable" time to see whether Hamas would recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept previous agreements, such as the so-called roadmap peace plan.


    "We will wait, but I don't intend to wait forever," he was quoted as saying. 


    "If after a reasonable time passes it becomes clear that the Palestinian Authority is not willing to accept these principles, we will need to begin to act"

    Ehud Olmert, 
    Acting Israeli prime minister

    The Islamist group is preparing to form the next Palestinian government after a landslide win in a general election in January.


    "If after a reasonable time passes it becomes clear that the Palestinian Authority is not willing to accept these principles, we will need to begin to act," Olmert said.


    Yet, before moving to draw the borders, he said he would hold an "internal dialogue inside Israel" to reach a "wide national consensus about what should be Israel's permanent borders".


    "I intend to speak to everyone, and first and foremost the public that lives in the territories," he said, referring to the  240,000 or so Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank.


    Karni crossing opened


    Israel also announced it reopened the Karni crossing, the only crossing point to transport goods from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the outside world.


    The crossing was closed for more than two weeks, causing shortfalls in food supplies, price increases and economic losses for Palestinian farmers. 

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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