In his first policy speech as interim Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert said Israel will have to withdraw from further parts of the West Bank to set a border with the Palestinians. Olmert described Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank as a “turning point”.
He said Israel could not control parts with a Palestinian majority but would keep its main settlements. Olmert also said Israel would act alone to set a border in the West Bank if talks failed. In the speech, Olmert urged the full implementation of the US-backed road map for peace. He also spoke of the importance of the Palestinian elections, which take place today. Olmert was addressing a security conference in Herzliya, where Sharon first gave details of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Kadima party will stand in elections in March, and withdrawal from occupied territory will be their linchpin.