Olmert: We Must Leave W. Bank, Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel must pull out of nearly all the territories it won in the 1967 Six Day War in order to have peace with the Palestinians.

In a pre-holiday interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Olmert insisted that Israel would have to give the Palestinians almost all of Judea and Samaria [The West Bank] and half of Jerusalem.

Click play to hear Pat Robertson's comments following this CBN News report.

He also said that Israel must exchange land inside the country's borders for any territory it keeps in Judea and Samaria, and that it will have to give the Golan Heights to Syria, provided Syria pulls out of Iran's orbit.

Olmert accused Israel's defense establishment of being stuck in an outmoded mindset.

"With them," he said, "it is all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop and that hilltop. All these things are worthless."

The prime minister, who resigned Sept. 21 in the wake of numerous corruption charges, admitted that he had long advocated that Israel keep sovereignty over Jerusalem. But now, he says, a decision must be made.

"This decision is difficult, terrible, a decision that contradicts our natural instincts, our innermost desires, our collective memories, the prayers of the Jewish people for 2,000 years," Olmert said.

On the issue of Iran, Olmert claimed that anyone who believes Israel should unilaterally attack Iran to preclude it from gaining nuclear weapons suffers from "megalomania." He said the task of stopping Iran belongs to the international community.

While Palestinian leaders reacted favorably to Olmert's interview, some said his deeds haven't matched his words. But members of Olmert's political opposition were outraged. Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Lieberman charged that Olmert's remarks "invite war." Knesset member Zevulon Orlev [National Union/National Religious Party] said that Olmert has lost control.

"The country is very lucky he is leaving his post," Orlev said.

Olmert will remain as interim prime minister until Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni can form a government or, if she fails, until the country holds new elections.

Sources: The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Army Radio

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