Olmert: 'Greater Israel is no more'

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - In Sunday's weekly Cabinet meeting, the last one before Kadima party primaries on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said only "delusional" people believe in a "greater Israel."

"The vision of a greater Israel no longer exists," Olmert said. "Those who speak of it are delusional," he said.

"During [the] Camp David [talks in July 2000] , I thought that [then prime minister] Ehud Barak's concessions were too much [some 95 percent of Judea and Samaria], and I told him so," Olmert said.

According to a Channel 2 report, Olmert has superseded Barak's proposal by offering Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas 98.1 percent of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Following Olmert's opening remarks, Vice Premier Haim Ramon presented a compensation plan for residents of Judea and Samaria's Jewish communities who willingly leave their homes.

Ramon said he will present a formal proposal to the Cabinet after Wednesday's primaries.

All four contenders to replace Olmert as Kadima party head -- Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit -- opposed Ramon's plan, saying it was premature and would negatively impact negotiations with the Palestinians.

Trade Minister and chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Eli Yishai, claimed his party would work to prevent implementation of such a plan.

"Whoever brings about the evacuation of settlers will lead to the evacuation of Jerusalem and the eradication of Jewish identity," Yishai said at the meeting.

While the Shas party has threatened numerous times to bolt the coalition over the division of Jerusalem, it has instead chosen to remain in the government, thereby supporting the negotiations to cede Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.

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