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TOUTE SOLUTION SERA DOULOUREUSE
Interview d'Ehoud Olmert le 3 janvier 2007 dans le Jerusalem Post par Herb Keinon et David Horowitz.
Commentaire d'Albert Soued, écrivain, www.chez.com/soued -- pour www.nuitdorient.com – consulter les archives du site www.nuidorient.com/n5.htm , les 50 derniers articles ou
Il y a plusieurs erreurs basiques dans le raisonnement d'Ehoud Olmert:
- la société dite palestinienne est tribale et faite de clans ennemis qui ne parviendront pas de si tôt à s'entendre et à créer un état (dit viable sur le plan du fonctionnement). D'ailleurs, étant donné cette impossibilité, de plus en plus de Palestiniens y renoncent, souhaitant vivre dans l'état "Israël"
- Olmert a tort de ne pas parler de l'importance du problème (aujourd'hui non résolu financièrement parlant) des réfugiés juifs des pays arabes. Ceci étant, il fait fausse route s'il pense que le problème des réfugiés palestiniens sera résolu dans un état Palestinien. Les contiendrait-il tous? Non! Et les états arabes ne veulent pas les intégrer chez eux parce qu'ils sont une source d'instabilité.
- il est illusoire de penser que la Syrie ne continuera pas d'avoir un rôle déstabilisateur dans la région si on lui rendait le Golan. C'est le Liban qui l'intéresse.
- dans un accord de ce genre qui engage le pays sur un demi siècle ou un siècle, on construit pour le long terme. Or rien ne préjuge de la démographie à long terme. Par conséquent toute décision prise selon la démographie du moment et "extrapolée" ne peut être qu'erronée.
Ceci étant, il semble que Mahmoud Abbas soit malade et souhaite se retirer dans sa villa du Qatar; les possibilités d'un accord en 2008 sont ainsi minces. Et s'il est élu Mac Cain souhaite un accord en phases progressives s'étalant sur le long terme… S'il est élu, Giuliani ne souhaite pas la création d'un état palestinien. Peut-être pense-t-il à une solution jordanienne. Obama ne sera pas élu cette fois-ci et Hillary Clinton fera comme Mac Cain.
Dans tous les cas, on n'est pas encore sorti de l'auberge.
Mais en attendant, il faudrait trouver un moyen d'inciter les intellos- gauchos-utopistes d'Israël à mesurer leurs propos quand le destin de leur patrie est en jeu et à ne pas demander au président Bush de "violer" l'état d'Israël pour l'amener à faire les concessions nécessaires pour satisfaire l'ego des uns et l'infantilisme des autres (1).
(1) David Landau, rédacteur en chef de Haaretz, s'adressant à Condoleeza Rice, lui a dit qu'Israël était un état raté et que si Bush violait le gouvernement Israélien, lui, il aurait "un rêve humide" …
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EVERY SOLUTION WILL BE PAINFUL
By HERB KEINON AND DAVID HOROVITZ
JP - Jan 3, 2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sat comfortably
behind his desk at his official residence in
Of Abbas he spoke pleasantly: Olmert said
the PA leader genuinely wanted peace and that in his heart of hearts he
Especially Bush. Two large photos of Olmert and Bush grace the prime minister's study: one with Olmert's hand on the president's shoulder, and the other of the two of them strolling, apparently engrossed in deep conversation. Olmert is proud of those pictures; he mentioned them twice; they reflect the relationship he has cultivated with Bush.
"President Bush is a
giant friend of ours," Olmert said. "One of
his most senior aides said that... he doesn't know of another relationship with
similar intimacy, a bond of souls, as that between
Even though Olmert has made clear he would
be willing to make deep concessions to the Palestinians - and noted in this
interview that even
He said that if an agreement is to be signed with the Palestinians, it is preferable to negotiate it with Bush in the White House, and with a supporting cast of friends in key capitals around the world - like Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, Angela Merkel in Berlin and Gordon Brown in London. Throw the Quartet's envoy Tony Blair into the mix, and what you have, in Olmert's view, is almost "the hand of God."
That's an interesting description, all the more so since, following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the conventional wisdom was that it would take nothing less than divine providence to keep Olmert in office at the end of 2007.
The past year was one during which he faced the damning interim report of the Winograd Committee, unparalleled low poll numbers, a number of scandals and a fragile coalition that rests on the support of two parties, Shas and Israel Beiteinu, whose ideologies run counter to what Olmert says must be done ultimately with the Palestinians: separate by making deep concessions based largely along the 1967 lines.
But survive Olmert did. And in the world according to the prime minister, his government - judging by the ease with which it passed the 2008 budget - is effective and stable; most Palestinians understand that there will be no "right of return"; a majority of Israelis will support an agreement he thinks is fitting; the Russians are not Israel's enemies; the Syrians should prove themselves as potential peace partners and may do so; and as far as the Iranians are concerned, "Israel is a strong state and it has the capacity and the will to prevent a circumstance in which it will stand in existential danger."
In this interview, on the occasion of the new calendar year, Olmert looked forward with neither boundless euphoria nor deep gloom to the challenges facing the country. But he looked forward as prime minister, preparing to host a first Bush presidential visit, and with relative confidence about retaining his post for a while. Few people a year ago would have bet on that.
You've said several times that it is vital
I never said exactly that, and I've also stressed publicly that I never used those words. Sometimes it happens in newspapers, not yours of course, that a half sentence is taken from the beginning, and a half sentence from the end, and everything is lost in the middle.
I said that if the solution of two states
for two peoples is not realized - and
There is a picture over there (Olmert
points to a black-and-white photograph at the side of his office) of my
parents at a young age, taken in 1930. They were born in
It was inconceivable to them that in their
son's generation there would be a threat to the very Jewishness of the State of
We must provide an answer to that question. We cannot ignore it. Can Israel continue to hold on to the territories from the Jordan to the sea, [with] a non-Jewish population that even now is approaching the number of Jews in Israel, and taking into consideration that, with the reproduction rate, the [Arab population] can surpass [the Jewish population] in 20 or 30 years?
What will be if we don't want to separate?
Will we live eternally in a confused reality where 50 percent of the population
or more are residents but not equal citizens who have the right to vote like
us? The moment that happens, the threat [to
But do the Palestinians - who also
understand the demographic process - truly want a viable two-state solution?
The impression is that this idea is losing ground with them.
The vast majority of the Palestinians want to live in their own state... But the question of whether or not they want this is not the measure by which I need to judge things. The question is whether we understand, and we do understand, that we need to draw the necessary conclusions, and also pay the price. And the price is very high, and there are risks.
I don't live in a bubble... I know what I am dealing with, who the Palestinians are. There are many people who in my opinion want to live in peace with us. But there are terrorist groups, fundamentalists, fanatics, those without any tolerance, who live according to a value system completely different than the value system of the Western world, which we are a part of. And that is a threat. There are no simple solutions... Every solution will be painful, but we have to deal with it. We cannot close our eyes... In the end we will find a way to a solution. First, we have to seriously try the path of negotiations. And that is what we are doing now.
And how is it going? Has anything moved
We are talking about a conflict of 100 years, or if you want 60 years, and you are asking about what has happened in three or four weeks since
Look, Abu Mazen [Abbas] and
I'm not saying that there are no
differences [between us]. There are. They want more territory; I want to give
less territory. They want parts of
Has there been a change in the Palestinian
stance on the refugee issue?
I think it is possible to solve the refugee problem, in a way that will not threaten the Jewish identity of
The idea of a right of return was born at
the end of the 1940s, at the beginning of the '50s, when there was a refugee
problem. It is not important now what the size was, or the cause, but there was
a problem. I don't think we intentionally created it. The creation of
When they thought of a solution, since they did not think of establishing a Palestinian state, the only solution that seemed [possible] was a return to the places from which they had left.
The whole idea of the establishment of a Palestinian state is to enable those same people to live in a Palestinian state, and not in the State of Israel. So to speak today about a solution to the refugee problem in the terms that were right in the '50s or '49 is to be cut off from reality.
We believe in our hearts that they are the ones who prevented a solution so many years earlier. They think that we are to blame for it. One thing is certain: The reality of today is different from what it was then. So that solution [of a refugee return] is not relevant to today's reality. It will not come to pass.
The entire world agrees to the
establishment of a Palestinian state that will be vital, contiguous, free and
democratic, that will live alongside
As long as Hamas is so strong, can Abu Mazen
be flexible on the refugee issue or anything else?
Abu Mazen is not in control of
We need to decide, and they also need to decide. And I am not sure that everyone on our side is ready for the decision. There are many parties in the Knesset who are talking in a way that is detached from this reality.
Then allow me to ask a political question.
Maybe this is premature, but if
I have to do what is good for
I have been able to find this balance up
to now, perhaps beyond the expectations of some people who thought for a long
time that this government would not make it. The fact is that we completed the
approval of the budget. Remind me of one time when a government of
The government is stable, and we will find the way to preserve the stability without giving up our commitment to a diplomatic process...
Would you continue on the basis of a Knesset
majority of around 60 [if Shas and
The current makeup of the government is excellent, and there is no reason to change it. I don't want to change it.
If you reach an agreement with the
Palestinians in 2008, will you bring that to a referendum, or hold elections?
It is too early to talk about that now. It is clear that in the final analysis an agreement needs to reflect the will of the people. The Knesset today reflects the will of the people. There is a decisive majority in this Knesset for a diplomatic process. So we'll see what will be - what kind of agreement we will get to, how, if we will [reach one]. I believe that the decisive majority of Israelis, and a majority in the Knesset, will be able to support an agreement that I will be able to sign.
Did you discuss substance in your latest
meeting with Abu Mazen, or again did they bring up Har Homa and you talk about
We also discussed issues of substance, primarily in the private meeting between me and Abu Mazen. We are making progress. They put on the table the questions that are bothering them, including the issue of construction in the settlements and the settlements - and that is understandable to me - and I presented them with our concerns and our positions.
The fact is that we continue to talk. That doesn't mean that we already agree on everything. We need to talk a lot, a real lot. Look, the teachers' strike took two months of negotiations and was hard to finish; our conflict with the Palestinians will not end in one meeting or 50 meetings between me and Abu Mazen.
The question is whether we feel a commitment to continue in this process. I am coming to discussions with the Palestinians from an emotional position that is different from that of some other Israeli politicians dealing with this. I know to the depths of my soul the heavy price in blood that we paid for generations because of Arab and Palestinian hatred toward us.
I saw that pain, perhaps more than others,
because I was the mayor here for many years, in the most difficult days in the
modern history of
But I am also aware that there was a great deal of suffering on the other side... For decades the Arab states showed an exaggerated degree of detachment, neglect and lack of caring for the Palestinians. But it is also impossible to ignore the fact that thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, lived in [refugee] camps for decades, in horrible conditions. Many of them live there today. And I know that if we cannot find the mechanism that will allow them to live with the feeling of dignity, without the feeling of perpetual insult, as they live with today, we will not be able to create the dynamic that makes peace.
Plainly you've made the choice that you
mentioned [between "our very natural desire to live in the whole
I think that Abu Mazen has made that choice in his heart. I can't speak for him. I think he made the decision. My impression is that he wants peace with
You represent the nation. He represents only
half his nation. Doesn't that create a problem?
I was not personally elected by 62 percent of my people. He was. OK, all Gazan residents today are under the dictatorial and violent government of Hamas. I can't say today how many residents in
First of all, I don't know [about September 6], and if I do know, I don't want to talk about what was. If I wanted to talk, I wouldn't have waited until today.
I need to ask myself one question: Let's
say that there is a danger with the Syrians, and that it could get worse
because of their links with the Iranians, Hizbullah and Hamas. Is it in my
interest that this not happen, or is it in my interest that this axis of evil
continues to flourish, develop and widen?... It would be good for
The Syrians will have to decide if they
are prepared for this. I can only say that it is necessary to check whether it
is possible to conduct a serious, deep and true discussion [with
A year, year and a half ago, people came
to me with criticisms during interviews, asking why I don't want peace with
There will not be peace with
Do they need to cut those ties before talks
I am not setting public conditions about what I want from the Syrians. That's not appropriate... I never demanded or accepted preconditions.
I don't think so... I imagine that the Egyptians, like all Arab states, would be pleased were there peace between
Turning to the issue of
The Iranian threat is... a combination of several factors. First of all, the nature of the Iranian regime - non-democratic, extremist, built on hatred and detached from all the basic values of Western culture. It sustains the anti-Israeli Islamic extremist movements. It nurtures them, strengthens them, encourages them.
I would suggest that we put aside the
Russian aspect for the moment. I don't think
Last year when we spoke at length with you
here, you expressed confidence that one way or another President Bush would
handle the Iranian threat. When we spoke with you in
The NIE summarizes the stance of the American intelligence agencies. The bottom line, it says, is that there is no smoking gun by which we can prove that
But the NIE limits his room for action, no?
And where does that leave us?
Let me remind you that President Bush said
a few days ago, after he knew what the thinking was in the American
intelligence community, that an attack on
On the Winograd report, you've been quoted
as saying that you don't intend to resign no matter what its content. How can
you respond to a report you haven't seen yet?
I haven't responded to the report and I'm not going to respond to the report now. I said I would respond to the report when I read it. It's premature...
Going back to the Palestinians, are you in
favor of changing the criteria [for prisoner releases]?
I'm in favor of checking the criteria... For example, when you say a prisoner "with blood on his hands," can there be a circumstance where somebody who didn't harm or injure a Jew or kill a Jew but, say, was part of an apparatus whose members did do something [like that], can one say that he has blood on his hands? Maybe there are definitions that need reexamining. The subject was raised and I charged a committee with checking it, with the participation of several senior ministers and in consultation with the security services. We'll see what they recommend. It may be that there is room for more precise definitions of what constitutes "blood on hands."
Has anything happened in the last month to
give you room for more optimism as regards [kidnapped soldier Cpl.] Gilad
I believe with all my heart that Gilad Schalit is alive. We're making very considerable efforts. I don't want to go into the details or make predictions. My experience has told me that where these matters are concerned, the less that is said the better.
Can you express the same confidence about
[kidnapped reservists] Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser?
I can't say that I know what their situation is. I can say that I am making every effort to establish what their situation is. Again, I don't want to go into details... Lives are at stake. I sit here and every day I make determinations where lives are at stake and I can't always talk about them. But I always carry that responsibility. I've never fled responsibility and I've never avoided taking decisions, but I can't talk about it. Sometimes it would make life much easier for me if I could tell you what we've decided, what we've done, how we've served the people of Israel and how we've been able to rein in people who threaten us. But my sense of responsibility obligates me to restrain myself. Sometimes this causes a certain amount of misunderstanding vis-a-vis the public, or anger, or lack of support.
Could you clarify your position on building
settlements and tell us whether the Americans accept this in the context of the
We will honor our obligations as set out in the road map. It's very simple. Take the road map. What's written there will be honored.
What's written is that
That's true. That's the obligation. And if everything began and ended with that, then that's what we have to do according to our commitment. But as you know well, America, which sponsored the road map, President Bush, on April 14, 2004, sent a letter that said one can't ignore the demographic reality unfolding in the territories and that this will certainly need to be given expression in the agreements between us and the Palestinians. And this, I would say, renders flexible to a degree the significance of what is written in the road map. I have announced that the State of Israel will not build new settlements and will not confiscate land for this purpose, and I intend to keep the obligation.
So what can we build within the settlements?
What about Ma'aleh Adumim?
Ma'aleh Adumim is an indivisible part of
Well the world does seem to and so do the
Palestinians. And the same goes for Har Homa.
The Palestinians have a concern which, from their point of view, is legitimate. I imagine that if since the road map was accepted all that had occurred was the expansion of Ma'aleh Adumim and Har Homa, then the Palestinians, though they might not have been happy about it, would not have responded in the way that they respond when every year all the settlements in all the territories continue to grow. There is a certain contradiction in this between what we're actually seeing and what we ourselves promised. We always complain about the [breached] promises of the other side. Obligations are not only to be demanded of others, but they must also be honored by ourselves. So there is a certain problem here. We have obligations related to settlements and we will honor them.
Why are the Egyptians not doing more at the
border [to stop arms smuggling]?
I have demanded repeatedly of President Mubarak to show more determination in honoring his obligations in relation to the Philadelphi corridor and the almost nightly smuggling from Sinai into
I voted against the Camp David accords [on
The agreement with
As I said, [peace with]
Is President Bush's visit next week going to
make history? Is he coming to be the godfather of the state of
I don't think he would define a visit like this in those terms. First and foremost, President Bush is a friend of
So what is the goal of the visit?
He's coming as an expression of his friendship. Also, he's coming to give expression to his support for the diplomatic process. I know some people have said to Bush a few times, "What are you doing? This could harm
But we have to understand something. The
world that is friendly to
Also remember, there was a government in
Now President Bush is a giant friend of ours...
And Bush wants the
He doesn't apply pressure. No, he doesn't apply pressure. He would like [that timetable met]. I don't know if I will be able to meet the timetable and I never promised that I would. I said that I hoped so, but I don't know. But let me ask you: If there's a chance to reach an agreement and to get assistance to complete an agreement, what is better for us, that it be done in the era of President Bush or that of another president when we at the moment can't exactly know who that president will be and what his positions will be? Think about it.
Now, it may be that in the end it turns out that there is no chance [to reach an accord inside a year].
But you would hope so?
I would hope so. I would like to stand with this man (Olmert points to a picture of himself walking with Bush) and tell him, "These are the red lines." He knows from me what the red lines are. And I want the
Even though he, in his vision for our
country, thinks of the '67 borders and a division of
He thinks of the '67 borders, but he has already said '67 plus. He's the only president who has ever said that... The basis is with reference to the '67 borders. His reference is '67 plus. And that's an amazing achievement for
The Palestinians know everything that you've
just said. So from their point of view, perhaps it's best to wait for the next
Maybe. But do they know who the next president is going to be? They don't know either...
The Palestinians may have expectations,
but if it turns out that the next president is no less obligated than Bush to
the State of Israel, then it might become clear to them that they've made a
mistake in taking their time. I don't know how to make their considerations. I
don't want to make their considerations. My job is not to do the thinking for
the Palestinians, my job is not to worry for the Palestinians. My job is to
take care of
And I think that if there's a chance to reach an agreement in the presidential term of George Bush, that's preferable. It's not merely Bush's presidency. It's a coincidence that is almost "the hand of God": that Bush is president of the United States, that Nicolas Sarkozy is the president of