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A Conversation With Ehud Olmert

I don't like this terminology that you have no choice. You always have a choice. While we were talking, two Qassam rockets landed in open areas near the regional municipality of Eshkol. Then there were a series of seven rockets shot from Gaza to [the Israeli town of] Sderot.

Will there be an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas?

There is no talk about a peace brokered between us and Hamas. The question is whether Egypt will fully understand and support the conditions set forth by Israel for refraining from further military actions. Hamas will have to stop all of the terrorist actions -- ground, ground-to-air, rockets, mortar shells, suicidal attacks -- any kind of attacks by all the organizations.

. . . Stopping all the violent and hostile actions means ending the smuggling of arms into the Gaza territory.

You mean via Egypt?

Through Egypt by the Palestinians. We don't blame Egypt.

Why not? Why can't they stop it?

They tried to stop it, and we hope that they will become more effective in stopping it.

What about the investigations you are dealing with?

I'm dealing with them, and, unfortunately, as a matter of law, I can't talk about it. It's unpleasant. It's mostly referring to campaign contributions.

Have you thought of saying, " O kay , I'll just resign." . . .

I don't really see that this will bring any better outcome for the country at this point. Not that a person is indispensable or irreplaceable. . . . But given the circumstances right now, I think it will not do good that I step down at this point. I have to think about it. I have to think about the possible ramifications of an early retirement.

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