Increasingly exposed and corrupt Prime Minister Olmert took the opportunity whilst Angela Merkel was in town to face the real politik in the Middle East which has dramatically changed now that Saudi Arabia under a confident King Abdullah (who gave VP Chehney such short shruft recently) is starting to exert their influence.
Olmert said ;
"I am announcing to the heads of the Arab states on this occasion that if the Saudi king initiates a meeting of moderate Arab states and invites me and the head of the Palestinian Authority in order to present us the Saudi ideas, we will come to hear them and we will be glad to voice ours,"
This is a remarkable change, and welcome because the recent meeting in Riyadh under King Abdullah the Arab nations would recognise Israel if Israel withdrew from Arab territories occupied in the 1967 war in return for which all Arab states would establish "normal relations... with Israel" and "consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended"
Their plan allows for the creation of a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees - a demand based on the UN General Assembly Resolution 194. The whole plan is essentially the so called Beirut Declaration adopted by Arab League in 2002 and calls for Israel's "acceptance of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. At that summit Hamas and the Palestinians were represented by Abbas.
The summit was also visited United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Also present but very much in the background was Damascus-based Hamas head Khaled Mashaal. Everything done at the summit that had anything to do with the Palestinians was coordinated with him according to Israeli intelligence.
Amr Moussa the head of The Arab League's 22 states (US satrap Libya excused themselves) was uncompromising and said the Middle East was at a crossroads.
"It is either we move towards a real peace or see an escalation in the situation."
The increasingly unwelcome and irrelevant US Secretary of State Condileezza Rice had appealed to Arab states to reach out to Israel on another of her drive by diplomacy tours at the timeof the conference.
Now they have, and no doubt with the persuasion of Angela Merkel who currently holds the Chairmanship of the EU Olmert has grasped at it. Apparently Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has spoken with US and Egyptian officials as well as Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and it has been agreed to take part "as soon as possible" in a meeting with a working group approved by the Arab summit that could begin negotiating a possible agreement.
Haaretz quotes a nameless diplomat ,"Arab League countries would talk formally and publicly as a collective with Israel," who added that the effort was unprecedented in its potential scope as any talks in the past have been purely on a divisive and bilateral basis.
Ehud Olmert told Joe Klein of Time magazine last week , "I can tell you that if I'd had an opportunity to meet with King Abdullah of the Saudis - which I have not - he would be very surprised to hear what I have to say.
"I look very favorably at the active role Saudis are now playing in the Middle East for many years," Olmert is reported to have said and called the Saudi peace initiative "a very interesting approach."
In the same interview he also called the called PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh a "terrorist" .
The Jerusalem Post report that at the press conference denied statements made recently by elements in Iran regarding a coordinated US-Israeli attack on Iran allegedly planned for this summer.
Olmert said that a plan whereby the US would attack Iran in the summer, and where Israel would at the same time attack Syria and Hizbullah, is "a plan we don't know of. It is baseless, and an unfounded rumor with no foundation."
Israel was not planning an attack, does not want an attack, and "I hope very much that no one makes a miscalculation because of claims that are completely baseless," he said.