Ehud Olmert said he will make every effort to make peace and has a “committed” partner in Mahmoud Abbas.
The Israeli prime minister spoke about the peace process and the Palestinian Authority president, and addressed domestic issues at the opening of the Knesset’s winter session Monday.
“I am determined to make brave but inevitable decisions that will mean foregoing the full achievement of dreams that fueled our national ethos for years,” Olmert told the parliament.
He added that there would be no further withdrawals before terror stops in the Gaza Strip.
Olmert also assured the public that education, welfare and security would be at the top of the government’s agenda in coming years. Olmert has not become involved in a threatened open-ended strike of junior and senior high school teachers scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu warned that giving half of Jerusalem to the Palestinians would make the other half uninhabitable. The Likud Party leader was making a clear reference to interviews Olmert’s top deputy, Haim Ramon, gave earlier in the day proposing a partition of the holy city.
Netanyahu added that giving away parts of the West Bank would expose major population centers such as Tel Aviv to the threat of Palestinian rockets.