Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed to commit Israel to work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state even after his departure. This is despite the fact that such a step would allow light Palestinian artillery to attack all of Israel’s population centers.

Israel’s only international airport, located in Lod, could also come within light-artillery range of an armed and sovereign Palestinian state.

A new series of Israeli commitments has been under discussion between Mr. Olmert and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that could lead a major military withdrawal from almost all areas that Israel acquired after 1967’s Six-Day War.

Mr. Olmert has also been asked to submit proposals regarding an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Israel took the Golan on the last day of the 1967 war to stop Syrian shelling of Israel’s Upper Galilee region.

Although Mr. Olmert is now under FBI and Israeli police investigation on charges of corruption, embezzlement and bribery, President George W. Bush has invited him to a meeting at the White House in late November.

The Israeli prime minister requested the meeting to discuss the establishment of a Palestinian state, negotiations with Syria as well as Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Olmert was also likely will meet with President-elect Barack Obama during his visit to Washington. The Bush administration has ordered coordination with Mr. Obama to ensure a smooth transfer of power as well as continuity in U.S. policy in the Middle East.

On Nov. 8, Secretary of State Rice concluded meetings with Israel leaders and with the Palestinian Authority. She was reportedly drafting recommendations for the incoming Obama administration, which would stress the establishment of an independent, sovereign and armed Palestinian state.

The Bush administration determined this past summer that Israel and the P.A. would be unable to meet a U.S. deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state in early 2009.

“We do not think it is likely it will happen before the end of the year,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Nov. 6.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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