In the interview Olmert stated that no Israeli will continue to live outside the fence, both for security reasons and also in a bid to provide the Palestinians with territorial contiguity and an opportunity to establish an independent state.
According to Kadima's head, who has been assigned by President Moshe Katsav the task of forming the next Israeli government, the fact that his party emerged from the recent elections as the biggest faction attests to the Israeli voter's support of the withdrawal plan.
When asked about his expectations from the American administration, Olmert said he was hoping to secure the United States' backing in the process, and that he intends to try and reach an understanding with the Americans regarding any steps Israel will take.
'No funds for Hamas-led PA'
It is important to understand, Olmert told Newsweek, that if Israel arrives at the conclusion that the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority is not willing to commit to the Road Map peace plan's prerequisites, "Israel cannot wait forever." According to Olmert, it was possible to create a new reality based on the premise that the two countries should live side by side, and that the Palestinians need territorial contiguity in order to found a state.
Olmert said he had no plan of posing an ultimatum to the PA, adding that if the Palestinians were unwilling to follow the conditions set out for negotiations, Israel would launch a unilateral move. He also stated that he hoped an international front will be formed against the Hamas cabinet, and stressed Israel shall not transfer any funds to the PA, but will seek ways to channel the money directly to humanitarian organizations.
Responding to a question about the Iranian threat to Israel, Olmert said that Israel will not tolerate a situation in which Iran has effective control over unconventional weapons that may be used against Israel. He however added that he hoped Israel would not need to resort to military means and that the Iranian nuclear program will be terminated by way of diplomatic talks.