The Zionist Conspiracy
Friday, February 20, 2004
When he initially called for unilateral withdrawal, Ehud Olmert did not offer a detailed plan, but indicated that Israel would keep all of the major settlement blocs, as well as Ariel. He insisted that Israel must retain full sovereignty over the Old City, but expressed willingness to cede outlying Arab neighborhoods there. At the time, which was just a few months ago, his comments were regarded as a radical shift.
His position now appears to have shifted much further to the Left. In a speech last night, Olmert said that "building Ariel might have been a mistake." He voiced his support of the Clinton plan and stated that Israel should leave all the settlements except for Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Sefer and Beitar Illit. Later it was clarified that Olmert would keep parts of Gush Etzion too, consistent with Clinton's plan.
While Olmert apparently did not mention Jerusalem, the Clinton Plan would leave Israel with control over only a tiny portion of the Old City.
Interestingly, Olmert's position places him to the Left of Ehud Barak, who has disavowed the Clinton Plan in favor of his Camp David proposals, under which Israel would have retained 8-10 percent of Judea and Samaria. Barak also always insisted on Israeli retention of Western Samaria, where Ariel is the largest community.
In December, I wrote a column critical of Olmert's plans, but also critical of those who attack him as "a political opportunist, a leftist, a fraud, a traitor to Likud`s ideology" while ignoring the substance of his arguments. The truth is that Olmert has always been a two-faced phony - and not only a matters relating to settlements - but going after him on that alone is not sufficient and won't succeed.