Olmert’s Interview … Is it a declaration of war or call for peace?

Olmert’s Interview … Is it a declaration of war or call for peace?

In his interview with the Israeli channel '2', Olmert, the acting prime minister of Israel incited what maybe the broad lines of the new Israeli party 'Kadima', particularly, his vision or that of Kadima of any peace settlement with the Palestinians in the future. Olmert indicated in the interview that Israel would keep control of settlements blocs in the West Bank and particularly named Ma'ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel, in addition to the Jordan valley, furthermore, Olmert clearly stated that Israel intends to retain control of 'united Jerusalem'. The acting prime minister also noted that Israel would possibly carry out additional withdrawal from unidentified number of settlements in the West Bank, although he did not explain the obvious, which is to say that any future withdrawal from settlements will only be limited to those settlements located between the eastern Segregation Zone in the Jordan valley and the western Segregation Zone with Jerusalem being out of the withdrawal equation to begin with. Olmert also neglected to mention the two corridors, which are to link the western Segregation Zone and the eastern Segregation Zone with Israel, nor he came on to explain the fate of the Israeli outposts that predominantly exist within these corridors.


This Olmert's, Sharon's, Kadima's, Israel's conception of a Palestinian state is far fetched from the Palestinian aspiration for an independent contiguate Palestinian state. The Israeli plan for the Palestinian state will leave the latter to exist in four isolated, disconnected Bantustans; actually, it would be five including the Gaza strip. However, that will not be the worst scenario case yet, as each of the four Bantustans areas in the West Bank will be fragmented into other several separated sectors where linkage between the sectors within each Bantustans is only possible through the Israeli controlled Area 'C', which might be according to the Israeli plan, the future core of negotiation with the Palestinian. Table 1 shows the distribution of areas controlled by Israelis and partially controlled by Palestinians in the West Bank. See Map 1    


Table 1: the distribution of areas controlled by Israelis and partially controlled by Palestinians in the West Bank

West Bank

Area 5661 Km2



Palestinian partial control

2205 km2


This includes areas A+B.

Area 'C'

1085 km2


Under Israeli control falls between western Segregation Zone and eastern Segregation Zone and might be subject to future negotiation.

Israeli control

2371 km2


Include western Segregation Zone

and eastern Segregation Zone.





Map 1: the distribution of areas controlled by Israelis and partially controlled
by Palestinians in the West Bank


In addition to the area controlled by Israel in the West Bank Israel still retains control over 17% of Gaza Strip (61 Km2: the buffer zone around Gaza Strip and the northern buffer zone). Between what is controlled by Israel in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians really have nothing much to look forward to in the future. In best-case scenario from an Israeli perspective, the Palestinians will gain control after long negotiations over 3290 Km2 (58%) of the West Bank area and 301 Km2 (83%) of the Gaza Strip, which brings it to 3591 Km2 (63.4%) of area occupied by Israel in the 1967 war and just about 13% of historic Palestine, a number far of the 1947 United Nations partition plan which designated 45.5% of historic Palestine to Palestinians, and certainly far from what is stated in the Oslo II Accord of 1995, which puts almost all of the West Bank and Gaza under Palestinian control.


It seem that Olmert's interview did its intended purpose, which is to outline the principles of Kadima with the Israeli strategy toward peace settlement with the Palestinians, to simulate the six months old Gaza unilateral disengagement charade again in the West Bank. However, the Israeli government; next to a considerable proportion of the Israeli society really wanted to leave Gaza; abort the colonizing dream over there for what it proved to be a failure, money drain and life wasting project, but that was not enough to for them to make an honorable escape out of Gaza, what they needed is to wait for the right time to see through their plan with nominal losses to which they were reimbursed almost immediately. Now for everyone who did not believe that everything happens for a reason, its time to rethink it again. Israel unilateral withdrawal or disengagement from occupied Gaza was intended to be so, that is unilateral, its purpose is now evident and that for Israel to execute a similar plan in the West Bank that falls within strategic plan to include large settlements blocs, the Jordan valley and their resized Jerusalem. The fact is that the temp-prime minister of Israel has just echoed Ariel Sharon's plan, nothing new was added and even the announcement of unilateral withdrawal of an additional West Bank settlements was already noted in Sharon's strategic plan as he figured  (and he is probably right) that such withdrawals, even if they go unilaterally, will score his government and Israel many points with the international community that tend to embrace these questionable Israeli gestures (settlements withdrawal) and tone down the debate on the Segregation Wall, which is set to encompass large settlements blocs.


The fact that Olmert is keen to proceed with his predecessor plan (continue with the Segregation Wall, encompass large settlements blocs and continue holding on to the Jordan valley and Jerusalem), would put an end to the peace process and seek to drag the area into a turmoil. Furthermore, Olmert has made it quit clear in the interview, that Israel has been working to separate from the Palestinians completely by setting Israel's permanent borders (not identified since 1948, the time when the Israeli state was established) but refrained from articulating the actual purpose, which is to create a predominant Jewish State; a quest that will surly fade away in the wake of continued control of the West Bank. As for the border that Israel seek to delineate, it will consist of two sets, at least from its eastern side, the first of which will be with the kingdom of Jordan along the Jordan valley area and the second being the Segregation Wall that will constitute physical barrier between Israel and the West Bank area (the grounds to the future Palestinian State), instead of the 1947 partition plan, which constitute the official and recognized border for the state of Israel. Evidently, Olmert divulged what maybe considered the strategy of the Israeli State and not just that of Kadima's, the party he seeks to officiate. Furthermore, Israel seems to be heading toward resolving the conflict in the same direction adopted in the Gaza disengagement, unilateral and self-serving approach with absolute disregard to the sequences of their action. Yes, Israel will resort to all tricks and try to justify its actions; unilateral withdrawal, drawing the borders of Israel based on whatever facts it coerced on the ground; excluding the United Nation's resolution and signed agreement with Palestinian side.


To realize its strategy, Israel continues to cling on to a propaganda-derived pretexts campaign (no Palestinian partner for peace, Israel's security, etc); pretty much the same one used to suffocate a Palestinian government under the late Yasser Arafat, paralyze the current-resigned government under Mahmood Abbas and will work on Hamas led-future government. 





Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem


Categories: Reports