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Israel’s Olmert calls for international force to manage post-war Gaza

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says that Israel must withdraw completely from the Gaza Strip once the military operation is over, and he calls for Netanyahu to be replaced immediately — not just when the war is over.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (L) and Former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert hold a briefing on US President Donald Trump's Mideast plan on February 11, 2020 in New York. - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told the UN Security Council that the world should reject President Donald Trump's Middle East plan, which he said would limit Palestinian sovereignty in a "Swiss cheese" deal. "We reject the Israeli-American plan," which "throws into question the legitimate rights of the Palestinians," Abbas s

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes Israel must start preparing for the day after the war, announce it has no intention to occupy Gaza, and solicit the Americans and the Europeans for the establishment of an international force that will rule the territory until the Palestinian Authority is ready to step in. In an interview with Al-Monitor, he estimates that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government made a mistake in declaring after the Oct. 7 attack that it would stay in the enclave until Hamas is fully eliminated.

Olmert has been one of Netanyahu’s most vigorous adversaries and critics in the past decade, mostly on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, though not only on that topic.  

Shortly after becoming caretaker prime minister in January 2006, after Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke, Olmert expressed his support for a two-state solution, stating that Israel would have to relinquish parts of the West Bank to maintain its Jewish majority. A year later, he participated in the US-sponsored Annapolis Conference for relaunching negotiations with the Palestinians. On the other hand, he was at the helm of the Israeli cabinet for the 2006 Lebanon war. Two years later, also under Olmert, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, attempting to halt continuous rocket barrages from Gaza. 

The following interview with Olmert has been edited for length and clarity.

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