2007-12-26 12:51:25 xinhuanet
JERUSALEM, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday that Israel was being "very careful" with regard to new construction in existing settlement blocs, local Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
During his meeting with representatives of the opposition party Meretz, Olmert talked about the settlement expansion in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa as well as a plan to compensate Jewish settlers in the West Bank who will relocate east of the Green Line.
Olmert was quoted as saying that the proposal of compensation for evacuation in the West Bank settlement must be seriously considered.
The prime minister also said that he believed it would be possible to reach a final status accord with the Palestinians in 2008.
Meretz party officials spoke with Olmert about the political developments, complaining about expansion plans for Har Homa and other settlement blocs.
Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are scheduled to meet on Thursday in a bid to resolve the dispute over Israeli building in East Jerusalem, which is paralyzing the efforts to renew peace negotiations.
The meeting will be the first between the two leaders since the U.S.-proposed Annapolis peace summit last month.
Israel insists that the Har Homa expansion does not violate its commitment not to build in West Bank settlements because the neighborhood is located in East Jerusalem.
In the meeting with Meretz officials, Olmert also said that he had no intention of stepping down from his position after the Winograd Committee, a panel probing last year's Lebanon War, publishes its final report.
"I will find the appropriate time and place to respond to the report," he said.
The final report, which is supposed to be published in another three weeks, will not include any conclusions or recommendations against specific persons involved.
In contrast to the partial report released last April, which dealt with the first five days of the Second Lebanon War, the final version will address the conduct of political and military echelons during the entire length of the second Lebanon War.