A bid for progress: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Bush and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas strike a hopeful pose Wednesday in Annapolis, Md.
If Israeli and Palestinian officials can’t find a way to establish a Palestinian state, the state of Israel won’t survive, according to Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. These words of warning came on the heels of Olmert’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and President Bush in Annapolis, Md., during which the three leaders laid out plans and set goals for formal peace talks.
US President George W Bush called Annapolis, the first substantive Arab-Israeli peace talks in seven years, a “hopeful beginning” for Mid-East peace.
Mr Olmert said it was not the first time he had articulated his fears about the demographic threat to Israel as a Jewish state from a faster growing Palestinian population.
He made similar comments in 2003 when justifying the failed strategy of unilateral withdrawals from Israeli-occupied land which holds large Palestinian populations.
“If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished,” Mr Olmert is quoted saying in Haaretz newspaper.