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Report: Olmert to call for deal with Palestinians, won’t rule outunilateral pullout | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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JERUSALEM (AP) – Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to tell a widely covered security conference on Tuesday that Israel prefers a peace deal with the Palestinians, but won’t rely on others to safeguard its future, a hint that further unilateral pullouts are possible, the Haaretz newspaper reported Tuesday.

But the Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported that in his first policy speech since taking over from the comatose Ariel Sharon on Jan. 4, Olmert will say that an additional unilateral move, on the order of Israel’s summer Gaza Strip pullout, would be a mistake.

The Maariv newspaper said Olmert will declare that Israel is too strong to fear a possible victory by Hamas militants in Wednesday’s Palestinian parliamentary elections. Opinion polls show the Islamic group, which has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel, in a close race with the ruling Fatah Party.