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"I'm not jealous": Former Israeli leader Ehud Olmert says he hopes Trump's Middle East peace plan succeeds

Former Israeli leader on Mideast peace talks
Former Israeli leader on Mideast peace talks 09:17

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday he's "not jealous" of President Trump's Middle East peace plan proposal, even though his own efforts did not succeed.

This comes after Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, spoke out against Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's plans to present an alternative peace plan, calling their actions "almost pathetic." 

"It comes from a lot of jealousy that they couldn't do it themselves," Kushner said at a United Nations Security Council briefing on the Trump proposal, which the Palestinians have flatly rejected.

Olmert, whose own proposal in 2008 failed to reconcile Israelis and Palestinians, said he "will be the most enthusiastic supporter of President Trump if he succeeds." 

"I thinks this was a slip of the tongue... I don't take it seriously." Olmert said in an interview with CBSN's Reena Ninan. "I'm not jealous. I'll be the most enthusiastic supporter of President Trump if he will succeed to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

Olmert's 2008 proposal would have relinquished most of the West Bank to the Palestinians, offered land swaps and made Jerusalem into a shared capital. It's a solution he still stands by — even after the Trump administration announced it recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"Why not split that part, which is inhabited only by Arabs ... and advance the chances for having peace," Olmert said. The former prime minister, who also served as a mayor of Jerusalem, was convicted in a bribery scandal in 2014. He no longer holds any position in government but says he still speaks with Abbas "every now and then."

The Trump administration's Middle East peace plan calls for a much smaller Palestinian state with a capital on the eastern edge of Jerusalem, which Olmert sees as "a basis for further efforts to negotiate."

"One thing is a two-state solution, which is fundamental for anything in the future. And the other thing is that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state. So these two things are positive."

Olmert said that he considers Abbas "the only potential partner for negotiations between us and the Palestinians."

"I couldn't achieve the agreement that I was sponsoring 12 years ago, though I thought it was a far-reaching proposal. But still, if there is a chance to build up on the principles that were laid down by President Trump, the effort must be made."

Olmert also said that he "absolutely" believes the Iran nuclear agreement signed by President Obama, but abandoned by President Trump, was a good deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposed it.

"A lot of injustice was done to President Obama in Israel. I admired him. I respected him. I always regretted the unfairness with which he was treated by some Israelis," Olmert said.

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