Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed a view that many objective observers share that “if the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-styloe struggle for equal voting rights(also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.” This is the first time an Israel leader has made a link between the current situation as the South African apartheid struggle. In a sense, Olmert was confronting the alternative to a two-state solution– an Israel in which Muslims would outnumber Jews if they received the right to vote. Unfortunately, for the prime minister, polls indicate most Israelis were not reassured by the Annapolis conference. The liberal daily Haaretz poll showed only 17% thought Annapolis a success and 42% regarded it as a failure. A similar poll in Yedhiot Ahronot showed 50% felt Annapolis a failure and 83% did not expect positive results by the end of 2008.
Olmert’s honesty may come back to haunt him if negotiations collapse with President Abbas. At this point Prime Minister Olmert must make a dramatic announcement to jump start negotiations. It could be something as simple as ensuring Palestinians of equal access to water supplies or an immediate freeze on further West Bank settlements. Olmert might well ask Turkey to become a partner in discussions since it is among the few nations which has good relations both with Israel and Arab nations.