Olmert vows to keep ”forever” settlement blocs in the West Bank

Published May 4th, 2006 - 01:44 GMT

Israel's Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, disclosing government policy guidelines as he presented his new government for parliament approval on Thursday, said that major settlenent blocs in the West Bank will be part of the sovereign state of Israel "forever."


Olmert said the "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank was a prelude to the core plan, his "convergence" proposal, which would see the transfer of tens of thousands of settlers from enclaves scattered throughout the West Bank, to settlement blocs in the West Bank.


"The achievements of the settlement movement in main concentrations will forever be an integral part of the sovereign state of Israel, along with Jerusalem, our united capital," Olmert told MPs.


Olmert added Iran views Israel as a target for annihilation, noting that Israel was capable of defending itself in the face of Tehran's nuclear program. "We must not ignore what the president of Iran says - he means everything he says," Olmert said in his speech.


"The State of Israel, which the evil leaders in Tehran have turned into a target for annihilation, is not helpless and it has the ability to defend itself against any threat."



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