Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Olmert: Further West Bank pullouts will be necessary

Acting Israeli Prime Minister &to=http://english.pravda.ru/diplomatic/2001/11/19/21257.html' target=_blank>Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that Israel will have to give up parts of the West Bank in order to preserve a Jewish majority inside its borders but would keep the main settlement blocs and Jerusalem.

In his first policy speech since taking over for the ailing &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/90/364/16746_sharon.html' target=_blank>Ariel Sharon, he said he preferred negotiated agreements but did not rule out further unilateral pullbacks, calling the summer withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank "a turning point for the state of Israel."

Olmert said that the main challenge now is "setting the permanent borders of the state of Israel to ensure a Jewish majority."