Critics Blast Olmert for Farewell Interview

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israelis from across the political spectrum denounced outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's "farewell interview" in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, calling for Israel to cede Judea, Samaria (the West Bank), the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem, to achieve peace.

"You are today leaving the government having achieved a chemistry with Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] -- and some sort of talks with the Syrians, but these things won't be remembered," ultra-left-wing Meretz MK (member of Knesset) Yossi Beilin "told" Olmert on Army Radio.

Likud MK Silvan Shalom, who likened the outgoing prime minister to a blind man driving toward a cliff, said his ideas prove that he's lost his way.

MK Arieh Eldad (National Union/National Religious Party) drew a comparison between the ongoing criminal investigations against Olmert and his political point of view.

"He is just saying it to find favor with the left-wing judges so his hanging will be easier," Eldad said.

Palestinians, on the other hand, welcomed Olmert's declaration.

"These days we are hearing new [rhetoric] from the Israeli prime minister, talk of the entire West Bank, the entire Golan and occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state," Abbas told Muslim clerics in an address marking Islam's Eid al-Fitr holiday.

"These are the things that will bring peace to us. It would have been better had they been said from the start and we hope he will leave them as a deposit for the next Israeli government," he said, which many believe is what Olmert has in mind.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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