Israel must offer 'a political horizon' to Palestinians in form of two-state solution: Ex Israel PM Olmert to BBC

Ahram Online , Friday 17 Nov 2023

In an interview with BBC, Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blamed his fierce rival Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for security failings that led to the 7 October debacle.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
FILE PHOTO: Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


Speaking in his Tel Aviv office, Olmert, who was in office from 2006 to 2009, told BBC: "Once Hamas had been destroyed," an international peacekeeping force must come in to take over "for a short period of time."

This would then allow the Palestinian Authority to eventually take over from them, rather “than from Israeli bayonets."

In return, he said Israel must offer "a political horizon" in the form of a two-state solution - the internationally backed formula for peace envisioning an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

His proposal would involve the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from almost all of the occupied West Bank, a call which will undoubtedly be highly controversial in many parts of Israeli society. that backs the powerful settler movement.

He acknowledged his plan would lead to confrontation, but said: "If action was not taken, then Israel would become a binational state that will forever live with internal conflict, friction, terror and hatred."

In another interview with Euronews, Olmert claimed Hamas' underground command center was based in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, not under Al-Shifa hospital in the north of the strip.

​"Khan Younis, which is in the southern part of Gaza Strip, is the real headquarters of Hamas," Olmert said.

"They have the leadership, they are hiding, they have the bunkers, they have the command positions, they have the launching pads."

On Wednesday, Israeli troops raided the Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in the strip, based on what they claimed was intel indicating that "a Hamas command center" lay beneath the hospital.

Olmert's claims came after the Israeli army used its allegations for weeks that the Hamas command center was under Al-Shifa as a pretext for attacking the hospital on Wednesday, but failed to show that the hospital was anything else but a hospital.

In an ironic twist of fate, the BBC, invited by the Israeli army to witness documentation of evidence of traces of Hamas presence under Al-Shifa, aired a report examining the videos released by the Israeli army to prove "hideouts", which raised questions about the Israeli narrative and shows clear manipulation in editing and outright lies.

The BBC found edits in the video released by Israel's army which it claims was "unedited" and that the number of guns increased from the time the video was taken to when journalists were allowed to see it.

"What we see in this IDF video does not match Israel's description of Shifa as a Hamas operational command center," BBC says.

Since Wednesday, Israel has failed to produce any credible evidence for its rich claims of a Hamas command center under Al-Shifa Medical Complex, the largest hospital in the under-bombardment Gaza Strip which had treated thousands of patients and wounded before Israeli bombing and sent it out of service.

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