Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert tells CNN that right-wing extremists from the United States toppled his government with “millions and millions of dollars” in order to thwart his attempt to reach a lasting peace agreement with the Palestinians.
In the interview Olmert gave CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that aired on Friday, Olmert said that his peace plan was supported by a majority of Israelis and that it could have been, and still can be, implemented were it not for “superior powers” in the U.S. which he would not name.
Olmert told Amanpour that he was working toward a peace agreement in 2008, knowing that this would mean handing over East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. “But I had to fight against superior powers, including millions and millions of dollars that were transferred from this country (the U.S.) by figures which were from the extreme right wing, that were aimed to topple me as Prime Minister of Israel. There is no question about it.”
Amanpour asked Olmert if there is still time for a two-state solution “There is time,” Olmert answered, “but time is running out.”
Olmert acknowledged that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas never said yes to his 2008 proposal, but also insists that “he never said no.”
“So why not reintroduce this plan again,” asked Olmert, “and present the challenge to the Palestinians?”
Olmert criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dealings with the Palestinians, saying, “The fact is that we don’t negotiate with the Palestinians, and the fact is that we have not proposed anything.”
When asked if Netanyahu will seek such a peace, Olmert said, “I certainly pray that he will,” adding “I doubt that he will.”
"Peace is important for Israel,” insisted Olmert. “We want peace. We need peace. We want to separate from the Palestinians. We don’t want to control the life of the Palestinians. We want them to have their own separate state.”The first part of the former prime minister's CNN interview was released on Monday, in which he said Israel could take part in a possible military strike on Iran, but should not lead it.