[Olmert does not get it that what he is voicing here is a total violation of moral and legal standards.  Need it be pointed out that Israel is starving the people of Gaza as well as striking targets from on high?  How does Israel manage to choose such incompetent leaders?  And how can the Israelis manage to go along with same?  I know how we did it — a stolen election.  But we seem to be waking up now.  Ed Kent]


Last update – 17:24 29/05/2007
PM: Palestinian extremists to blame for Gazans’ suffering
By Haaretz Staff and Reuters

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday blamed Palestinian extremism for being primarily responsible for the suffering of Gaza Strip residents.

“Gaza residents are the victims of extremism and leaders who are willing to shed their blood and deprive them of the right to live in peace and security,” said Olmert, during a Knesset event honoring the local authorities.

Olmert added that “Israel will not cease its operations against those launching Qassam rockets, and will not hesitate to strike those responsible for terrorism.”

“We have no intention of reaching any kind of settlement, neither with Hamas nor with Islamic Jihad,” said the prime minister. “We will hit them and continue to hit them.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that he will meet with Olmert on June 7.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the two are scheduled to meet next week, but said that the exact place and date have yet to be set.

“Its precise date and location will be determined in talks between the sides,” said a statement from the PMO.

The statement said that the talks are “an additional meeting in the framework of the sides’ desire to hold regular contacts.”

The two last met in April; Olmert’s spokeswoman said earlier this month that they would meet again “very soon.”

She declined to give a date for the meeting; an Israeli source said it would most likely take place in the West Bank city of Jericho.

An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said that while the talks would include discussions on the nature of a future Palestinian state, the thorny final status issues of borders, Jerusalem, and refugees would be avoided.

“They will be discussing a political horizon, meaning the composition of a future Palestinian state,” said David Baker. “They will not be discussing final status issues.”

The April talks were of a similar nature. “They did not speak about final status issues,” Baker told Haaretz after that meeting.

“They did speak about a political horizon, which included economic cooperation with a future Palestinian state and expanding the dialog about economic ventures with the Palestinians and how a future Palestinian economy would be comprised in such a state.”

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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