Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in remarks published Monday that Israel would have to withdraw from East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights if it was serious about making peace with the Palestinians and Syria.
In an interview with the Yedioth Aharonoth daily, Olmert said that as a hard-line politician for decades he had not been prepared to look at reality in all of its depth.
"Ariel Sharon spoke about painful costs and refused to elaborate," Olmert told the daily. "I say, we have no choice but to elaborate. In the end of the day, we will have to withdraw from the most decisive areas of the territories. In exchange for the same territories left in our hands, we will have to give compensation in the form of territories within the State of Israel."
"I think we are very close to an agreement," Olmert added.
These comments were the clearest sign to date of Olmert's willingness to meet key Palestinian demands in peace talks.