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Israeli Politicos Slam Olmert on Syria


Israeli politicians criticized Ehud Olmert for his reported plans to renew talks with Syria.

On Friday, an unnamed official from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office told Ha’aretz that Olmert would contact Turkish officials next week to discuss renewing the Turkish-mediated Israel-Syria talks.

Ha’aretz also reported that Olmert raised the renewal of the talks in a meeting he had Tuesday with Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, who also met with Syrian President Bashar Assad during a regional tour.

Olmert, plagued by a corruption scandal, is a caretaker prime minister, to be replaced followed elections next February. His sucessor as Kadima Party leader, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, told Army Radio that renewing talks now, while Israel is preparing for new elections, is inappropriate.

She also said Syria must take concrete steps to cut ties with Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group, before Israel commits to returning the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Right-wing politicians, who oppose returning the Golan, also criticized Olmert’s reported plan to resume talks with Syria.

Olmert is dealing a “simultaneous blow to the principles of democracy and the crucial interests of the State of Israel,” Likud legislator Yuval Steinitz told Ha’aretz.

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