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Olmert: Netanyahu Considers PA ‘Real Enemy’

Olmert: Netanyahu Considers PA ‘Real Enemy’

Saturday, 17 August, 2019 - 09:15
Ehud Olmert (Reuters)
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al Awsat
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is putting pressure on the Palestinian Authority (PA), considering it his real enemy not Hamas.

“No one demands that Israel engage in a serious political dialogue with Hamas, but almost everyone in the world except – for America – demands that Israel engage in a political dialogue with the PA,” Olmert said in an interview with Jerusalem Post.

However, he noted that Netanyahu doesn’t want peace and doesn’t want to engage with the PA because that “would lead to concessions he doesn’t want to make.”

“So therefore, for him, the PA is the dangerous enemy that has to be squeezed into a corner and criticized all the time, not Hamas.”

Olmert served as Israel’s prime minister from 2006 till 2009 and oversaw the 2009 Cast Lead military operation, which included an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, lasted 22 days and led to the martyrdom of 1,417 Palestinian and the death of 13 Israelis.

Olmert believed that operation was the last opportunity to destroy Hamas at a minimum price for Israel.

He pointed out that he had planned to take over the border line between the Palestinian and Egyptian Rafah, control the city as a price for separating Gaza from other parts and bring an international force as he did in south Lebanon in order to establish control over Gaza Strip in preparation for the PA return to it.

But that didn’t happen. And “the next time we met, Hamas had tunnels, much stronger military power and a lot more weapons to make the Israeli attempt to take over Hamas a lot more painful for us.”

Olmert also mentioned the periods that followed his rule, under Netanyahu, during which wars and military confrontations with Hamas have taken place, the latest of which was launching 700 rockets in one round for several days, in addition to the ongoing marches near the border wall.

Netanyahu “has always stated that he will destroy Hamas,” Olmert stressed, but he does the opposite.

"He has no courage, determination or will to do what he promises,” the former premier further noted.

He added that Netanyahu has no strategy about Gaza, which is comfortable for his government.

“It’s very comfortable for the government to have these periodical confrontations with Hamas, which almost always result in a massive rocket attacks from Gaza and a massive use of Iron Dome,” he said.

“There is a very painful psychological impact on the population, but the number of victims and casualties is minimal – to the degree that it can be repeated and prolonged almost indefinitely without any major action by the State of Israel,” Olmert explained.

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