Israel will have to reinstate pre-1967 border for peace deal, Olmert admits

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The outgoing Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, has publicly acknowledged for the first time that "almost all" of the territory seized during the Six-Day War in 1967 will have to be given back in return for peace with the Palestinians.

In an interview with Israel's biggest-selling newspaper, Yedhiot Ahronot, in which he underlined the urgent need for an agreement to be reached while the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas remains in office, Mr Olmert warned that the alternative was "the very great danger that there will be a bloody clash, which will thwart any possibility of continuing negotiations".

Declaring that "what I am saying ... has not been said by any Israeli leader before me", Mr Olmert also went further than any member of his government in laying down some of the minimum requirements he believes he, or his successor will need to fulfil if there is to be a deal with Mr Abbas.

The Prime Minister, who has already announced his resignation in the face of a police inquiry into fraud and corruption allegations, insisted he would continue working for an agreement for the weeks or, if his successor as leader of the ruling Kadima Party, Tzipi Livni, fails to form a workable coalition, months before he has to stand down.

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