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Acting PM Olmert: 'Israel Will Not Allow Iran To Acquire Nuclear Weapon'

'I Hope To Negotiate A Permanent Agreement With Abu-Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) After Palestinians & Israeli Election'

Maariv Daily: 'Abu-Mazen Is In State Of Depression Due To Anarchy In Palestinian Society'

Acting PM Ehud Olmert

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held his first news conference spelling out his position on the looming Iranian nuclear threat and the Palestinian election next week. Olmert left no doubt where he stands on the recent threats by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel being 'wiped off the map' as Tehran renews its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international criticism. In a new development, the acting PM is sending a delegation to Moscow. Russia is building the Iranian nuclear reactor at busher. As for the Palestinians, Olmert said he hoped to reach a permanent peace agreement with Mahmoud Abbas but within the Roadmap framework.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

'Israel will not sit idly by, if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons' - that was the message from Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in his first political statement.

Olmert laid it on the line: 'Under no condition and at no stage will Israel be able to permit anyone with hostile intentions, to arm itself with nuclear weapons'. When asked if Israel would launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear installations, he replied:' We cannot acquiesce in such a threat being directed at us'. Olmert was reacting to Tehran's renewing its program to enrich uranium required for producing the bomb. Olmert also said the Iranian threat is not new to him - before taking ill, Prime Minister Sharon had called on him to study the question. And Olmert added: 'The subject is on the agenda of the Israeli government'. Jerusalem was acting in close contact with the U.S. and European states. He concluded by saying: 'I believe there is a way to ensure that non-conventional weapons will not fall into irresponsible hands that would endanger the world peace. Interviewed on Channel 10 TV, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Israel was taking all the necessary steps to defend itself. His statement comes against the furor in Germany over reports the German authorities have cooperated with the Mossad, Israel's secret service, in supplying German passports to Israeli agents.At long last, Iran's neighbors such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are now voicing their concern over Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. As reported previously By IsraCast, they also feel threatened by Iran's fanatic Islamist regime.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Issue: At his first news conference, Olmert spoke about renewing peace talks with the Palestinians. He said: 'After the upcoming Palestinian and Israeli elections, I hope to negotiate with Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) on a permanent agreement'. Olmert's spokesman later made clear the peace parley must be conducted within the Roadmap. But what if Hamas, which is also bound on Israel's destruction, wins seats in the Palestinian 'parliament' in the election set for January 25th? Olmert says the Roadmap's first condition is that the Palestinians disarm the terrorists and halt the violence. As for Hamas, it would also have to revoke its charter that calls for Israel's annihilation. It has long been apparent, that Palestinian leader Abu-Mazen is deeply upset about the lawlessness and violence that rules Palestinian society. The Maariv Daily now writes that reports reaching Israel say Abu Mazen is now suffering from mental depression.

As he gradually steps into the position of prime minister, Ehud Olmert is facing a tough baptism of fire - the Iranian nuclear threat and the uncertainty following the Palestinian election.

David Essing

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