Monday, November 10, 2008

Ehud Olmert on Menachem Begin

...Our goal should be, for the first time, to designate a final and exact borderline between us and the Palestinians so that the entire world, the United States, the UN, and Europe can say, "These are the borders of the State of Israel, we recognize them, and we will anchor them with formal resolutions in the major international bodies. These are the recognized borders of Israel and these are the recognized borders of the State of Palestine."

...Who seriously thinks that if we sit on another hilltop, on another hundred meters, this will make a difference for Israel's basic security?

...Is the absence of a resolution between us and the Palestinians the result of Israel's intransigence? No. Let there be no doubt in this matter. I regret to say that the Palestinians lack the necessary courage, power, inner strength, will, and enthusiasm. If we don't reach a solution, I'm in no way prepared to lay the blame on Israel. The blame rests first and foremost with the other side.

I would like to learn from my own mistakes. I hadn't seen this before and I'm not trying to justify myself. Exactly thirty years ago, when Menachem Begin returned from Camp David, I spoke out against [the agreement he made there] and I voted against it. I confess; I'm not trying to hide or obscure that.

What was Menachem Begin's genius?... He started from the end. He began by saying, "I am ready to pull out of the entire Sinai—now, let us negotiate."

...When I look back to the prime ministers who preceded me, Arik Sharon, Bibi Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, I can say that each made a step in the right direction but that at a certain point in time, at a particular juncture at which a decision was necessary, the decision did not come....

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