Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in comments broadcast Thursday that he hopes to meet Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the coming days.
Asked in an interview with Israel Radio when a summit with Abbas was likely, Olmert said: “I hope in the coming days, I hope. I, in any case, asked him. I told him that I would be happy to meet with him.”
The prime minister also reiterated that he would not free any Palestinian prisoners, not even as a goodwill gesture, until Hamas releases kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Hamas and the other groups holding Shalit have demanded Israel release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the soldier. Egypt has been mediating talks between the sides in the hopes of arranging such a prisoner swap.
But Olmert dismissed notions that Israel would release Palestinian prisoners ahead of the swap, even though Israel has at times made such gestures in the past.
“I am not making gestures,” Olmert told the radio. “Until Gilad Shalit is freed I will not deal with freeing Palestinian prisoners.”
But what about all the reports that Olmert and Abbas won’t meet until Shalit is released?
“‘I am not making gestures,’ Olmert told the radio.” Oh, contrar!
The very statement of the prime minister; “I told him that I would be happy to meet with him” indicates a gesture in advance of the release of the soldier, Gilad Shalit. And the release of hundreds of terrorists is an open invitation for more such kidnappings and further vicious cycles of appeasement. Olmert, give us all a break — Resign Now! MB
For context, regarding previous reports that there will be no such meetings until Shalit’s release, view these articles;
Report: No Olmert-Abbas Summit Until Soldier Released (All Headline News September 21, 2006)
” Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Thursday that there would be no peace summit between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas until the Palestinians release an Israeli soldier they are holding.”
Peres: Once Shalit is Released, Olmert and Abbas Will Open Talks
(Haaretz 5 September, 2006)
“Peres, asked if Olmert would soon invite Abbas for the first talks between the two leaders, Peres told Army Radio, ‘The moment that this matter is solved, the matter of our captive soldiers, and I hope it will be solved, that is what will happen.'”
“According to Peres, the sides would ‘open negotiations on the basis of the road map. This is the only document that exists.’ The talks could take place, Peres said, as soon as Shalit comes home.”
Olmert-Abbas to Meet if Gaza Soldier Freed (News Explorer September 5, 2006)
“Abu Mazen (Abbas) should be invited to talks, and I believe the prime minister will do so in the coming days. Negotiations must be launched on the basis of the ‘road map’, Peres told Israel’s Army Radio, referring to a U.S.-led peace blueprint. ‘When this (captive) situation is resolved, it (a meeting) will take place,’ he said.”