The above picture, with the above caption, still appears on the website of the Israel Policy Forum, where Ehud Olmert spoke those words in a formal address at IPF’s 2005 annual dinner (emceed by Arianna Huffington) before 600 people in New York City.
Olmert predicted in that speech that the
It didn’t work out that way. The Islamic party that told the Palestinians that years of negotiation got them “nothing,” while terror got the Israelis out of Gaza with no concessions at all, won the election the following January, and after that -- hey, Olmert was right -- everything was changed.
Now, as Olmert campaigns on a pledge of another massive unilateral disengagement (the one Ariel Sharon promised would not occur), Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit has had enough. In a blistering column in today’s issue, he described Olmert’s plan as the “beginning of the end:”
In September 2000, the Palestinians began a terror offensive against
. They did this because they refused to accept the Camp David proposal, which promised them the entire Gaza Strip and 91 percent of the West Bank in exchange for full recognition of Israel and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel
If Ehud Olmert is elected prime minister and implements his convergence plan, then in September 2010 the Palestinians will have sovereignty over the entire Gaza Strip and some 91 percent of the West Bank, and all this without recognizing Israel and without ending the conflict. . . .
At first glance, Olmert's plan appears enchanting . . . Within three years we'll evacuate some 80,000 settlers. Within less than five years, we will undergo a final disengagement from the Palestinians and converge within the borders of a flourishing lowlands country. We will surround our existence with a high wall . . . So simple. So clear. How did we not think of this sooner. . . .
What Olmert plans to do in the next few years is to establish an armed Hamas state in Judea,
Samariaand . Via the nearly complete withdrawal, Olmert will promise Hamas almost total control in the Palestinian state for generations. The Palestine of Olmert will be hostile, dissatisfied and violent. . . . [and] one that will endanger the very existence of the State of Gaza . Israel
In other words, everything will be changed.
Shavit is a prominent journalist and a person of the left, a supporter of the