Olmert vows to draw Israel's permanent borders, build in settlement near Jerusalem
Israel's Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expects to draw his country's permanent borders by 2010, and he also plans to build a controversial settlement outside Jerusalem, he said in an interview published Thursday.
Olmert told The Jerusalem Post daily that within four years, he planned to "get to Israel's permanent borders, whereby we will completely separate from the majority of the Palestinian population and preserve a large and stable Jewish majority in Israel."
According to Olmert, Israel would act unilaterally to set its borders if Hamas didn't renounce violence against Israel and accept the guidelines of an internationally backed peace plan within a "reasonable time." Should Hamas resist, he said, "we will need to begin to act."
Olmert said his plan for Israel's borders included incorporating its three major settlement blocs - Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion outside Jerusalem, and Ariel, in the middle of the West Bank. Borders would also include Jerusalem and its immediate environs, and the Jordan River Valley, which Olmert characterized as a "security border."
Olmert confirmed in the interview that his future government would build controversial housing on West Bank land between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim. Palestinians and the international community oppose to the planned construction of 3,650 housing units.