Abbas: Olmert Was Close to Peace Deal

Palestinian Leader Says Pair Nearly Reached Pact in '08

By Reuters

Published October 14, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

In comments that may stir Israel’s election campaign, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that he and Ehud Olmert were “two months” away from a peace deal before Olmert had to resign as Israeli prime minister.

With Olmert lately cleared of several graft charges and considering a challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jan. 22 parliamentary election, supporters have highlighted Olmert’s efforts to make peace with Abbas in negotiations which later foundered under Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition.

Speaking to Israeli politicians in the West Bank, Abbas said: “I worked hard with Olmert. Unfortunately, he suddenly retired. We discussed the borders, the exchange of territories and traded maps. We were close and reached many understandings.”

Asked how close the pair were to a deal in 2008, Abbas replied in English: “I’m sure if he continued, two months.”

Olmert and other officials involved in those U.S.-sponsored talks have spoken of progress in, for example, pencilling new borders to divide Israel from a new Palestinian state, both Abbas and Olmert would have struggled to convince hardliners on either side to support any peace plan they might have produced.

Olmert was once a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party but joined the centrist movement Kadima, which he led in government from 2006. In mid-2008, he announced his resignation over corruption allegations, though he remained caretaker premier until Netanyahu won a parliamentary election in early 2009.

Before Olmert left office, Abbas had suspended talks over the war Olmert launched in the Gaza Strip in late 2008, as part of Israel’s confrontation with Abbas’s Palestinian rivals Hamas.

Aides to Olmert, 67, have said he has been considering returning to active politics since he was largely acquitted in July of charges against him and received a suspended jail term that did not raise a legal obstacle for him to run for election.

Abbas stopped short of endorsing Olmert, describing the vote as an “internal Israeli issue”.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with its capital in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu called the election several months early and polls make him strong favourite to retain power.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.