Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has laid out his vision for the country’s future. In a policy speech ahead of the Knesset’s ratification of his government, he voiced deep concern about Iran’s nuclear programme, accusing Tehran of targeting the Jewish state for annihilation.
Olmert, whose Kadima Party won the general election in March, also said he preferred to reach a deal with the Palestinians through negotiations based on the internationally backed “road map” peace plan. He reaffirmed, however, that Israel will not deal with a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority unless the Islamic group recognises the Jewish state, renounces violence and accepts past interim peace accords. The new prime minister is likely to meet the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after a visit to Washington this month to seek support from Washington for the convergence plan.