Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spent the afternoon Tuesday, in his home in Motza near Jerusalem, receiving a stream of calls and flower bouquets congratulating him on his acquittals earlier that day. One of the more interesting of these congratulations was a phone call from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian leader, who has been avoiding meeting and talking with the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, congratulated Olmert in his acquittal and wished him the best of luck in the future.
When Olmert was prime minister, he held intensive negotiations with Abbas, starting with the Annapolis Peace Summit in November 2007. During 2008, after the Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs broke, Olmert presented Abbas with a proposal for a peace agreement covering all the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Olmert suggested that Israel pull out of 94 percent of the West Bank, compensating the Palestinians with land in place of the remaining 6 percent. In addition, Olmert suggested that the Jerusalem’s Old City be administrated by an international committee, as well as, the reabsorbing of 5,000 Palestinian refugees into Israel as a humanitarian gesture.
In her memoirs, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote that she was surprised by the courage Olmert exhibited in pursuing the peace process. After meeting with Olmert in Jerusalem and hearing firsthand the proposal he presented Abbas, she called national security advisor Steve Hadley and told him: “Tell the president that he is right about Olmert, wants an agreement. And as a matter of fact, he could die trying to reach an agreement. Rabin was murdered after offering much less.”
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