JERUSALEM — Israel will have to give up "almost all" of the West Bank areas it occupies and accept the division of Jerusalem to take advantage of a rapidly closing window of opportunity for peace with the Arabs, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview published Monday.
"The decision we are going to have to make is a decision we have been refusing for 40 years to look at open-eyed," Olmert told the Yediot Aharanot newspaper. "The time has come to say these things. The time has come to put them on the table."
Olmert has resigned from the premiership because of a host of corruption investigations. He remains in a caretaker position while Tzipi Livni, his successor as head of the ruling Kadima Party, works to assemble a new government.
The impact of Olmert's statements is unclear. But it offered a telling portrait of Israeli political life and the restraints facing prime ministers who must hedge their views on land-for-peace deals and especially on Jerusalem in order to maintain their governing coalitions.