Former prime minister Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the Holy Basin area of Jerusalem would be under no sovereignty at all and administered by a joint committee of Saudis, Jordanians, Israelis, Palestinians and Americans, the former prime minister told Newsweek magazine in an interview in the current issue.The fact that Olmert was willing to give away the most important sites in Judaism is not news.
The proposal to internationalize the Holy Basin was intended to achieve a breakthrough in the negotiations around the issues of sovereignty over holy sites in Jerusalem, the issue which had reportedly caused the breakdown of the Camp David talks in July 2000.
Olmert also told Newsweek he suggested to Abbas Israel would withdraw from 93.5 to 93.7 per cent of the West Bank, compensating the Palestinians with territory equivalent to 5.8 per cent of the West Bank, and allow for direct crossing between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The fact that he is willing to tell the world that Jerusalem is not nearly as important to him and his secularist, wishful thinking cronies as it appears to be to Palestinian Arabs - and implying that most Israeli Jews agree with him - is also not novel.
But what is new is that an ex-prime minister is actively trying to subvert the current elected leader of Israel by publicizing his incredibly foolhardy offer. By telling these details to Newsweek - an offer made while he was a lame duck PM, one that there is no evidence he could have pushed through the Knesset - he is telling the world that Binyomin Netanyahu is not pushing a consensual view of the Israeli electorate. He is telling everyone that anything less than this offer is not serious, and that Palestinian Arabs have no reason to compromise beyond his terms because if they wait out Netanyahu, they'll get more. He is not only showing his poker cards - he is telling the other players that Netanyahu is bluffing. He is encouraging the West to pressure Israel mercilessly until it meets Olmert's idea of what needs to be freely given away for a worthless piece of paper.
The incompetent, immoral and likely criminal Olmert is undermining Israel democracy and security to boost his own ego and gain legitimacy in Western eyes as a "peacemaker." And he is selling Israel down the river to do it.
Even Barak didn't do anything like this when he left office.