PM says Bush aware Iranian threat must be confronted
'US well-aware Iranian threat must be eliminated,' Olmert tells cabinet; says American president stressed that no peace agreement with Palestinians can be implemented before Israel's security guaranteed. Adds: Fact that illegal outposts are still standing is a disgrace
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the onset of Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting that "despite the findings of the American National Intelligence Estimate, Iran has been and will continue to be threat, and we must work toward eliminating this threat – and the US is well-aware of this".
Olmert briefed the ministers on the round of talks he held with President George W. Bush during his recent visit to Israel, saying the two key issues discussed were the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the Iranian nuclear threat.
"Bush reiterated the US's full commitment to ensuring that no agreement will be carried out on the ground before the Road Map (for peace plan) is implemented in full, including all of the clauses regarding Israel's security – both in Gaza and in the West Bank," the PM said.
According to Olmert, Bush realizes that there can be no distinction between Gaza and the West Bank when it comes to security-related matters: "The president continuously stressed that we were talking about two states for two peoples, not three states for two peoples."
Turning his attention to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Olmert told the cabinet "the fact that illegal outposts are still standing, even though the last two governments decided to evacuate them is a disgrace.
"We cannot continue to say that the Road Map is a strategic Israeli asset and not implement what is required of us according (to the plan)," he said.
The prime minister said that although Bush's second term as president has entered its final year, the stance that the US will take during this period, especially with regard to issues concerning Israel's security, will have tremendous significance and gravity.
"This year will be a decisive one, and, thank God, Israel has a great friend in the White House," he said. "I am glad I did not heed the calls of people with influence, who said we should sever our ties with the president because it was his last year in office."