Monday, November 27

Olmert to Palestinians: 'I hold out my hand in peace'

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaking during a memorial
for David Ben-Gurion in the southern kibbutz
of Sde Boker on Monday. (AP)
Here is an excerpt of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech, given today in a memorial at the graveside of Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, at Kibbutz Sde Boker:

We started it the day before yesterday. We embarked on this path - and I hope that it will lead us forward towards the goal we all aspire to - peace, tranquility and mutual trust. We are ready and willing to pursue this path, and persevere until we reach the sought-after solution.

If a new Palestinian government is established - a government which will be committed to the principles of the Quartet, implement the road map and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit, I will invite Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] to meet with me immediately, in order to conduct a real, open, genuine and serious dialogue between us.

If you demonstrate the necessary determination and discipline, you will find in us a ready partner. The State of Israel is a powerful State. Do not be fooled by our internal differences, our political rivalries or the gloomy atmosphere which we sometimes project.

In a violent battle, we will prevail, even if it is lengthy and even if it claims many victims; even if it involves compromises on comfort or quality of living, the State of Israel has proven its strength in the past and is prepared for it today.

Do not put us to another test, which will involve many casualties and destruction, and which will lead to total hardship and despair.

Read the rest here.

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