Olmert: Year not enough for peace deal

Ehud Olmert told U.S. Jewish leaders it will be difficult to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians this year.

Instead, perhaps a document of understanding could be signed, the Israeli prime minister said Sunday, during a meeting with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“I think it is too much to expect that we will be able to finish all of the negotiations within a year,” Olmert told the group, which represents more than 50 U.S. Jewish organizations. President Bush has expressed hope that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal might be worked out before he leaves office in January 2009.

Olmert said that leaving Gaza unilaterally in the summer of 2005 was good for Israel despite ongoing tensions. Had Israel remained in Gaza, he said, Israel’s security would have been more compromised than it is today. He added that the Israeli military would hit Hamas to stop terrorist attacks on Israelis.

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