Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has criticised the current government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that its policies could lead Israel into "political isolation" and threaten its strategic interests with the United States. This is especially so in the light of Israel's refusal to accept an American request to extend a partial settlement freeze.
Speaking at an Industry, Trade and Labour Ministry conference on 12 October, Mr. Olmert said, "Israel might pay a very high price as a result of the current government's policies". He accused Netanyahu of trying to "insult the whole world". The ex-Prime Minister said that the coalition government's refusal of the US request to extend the settlement freeze could lead to Israel's political isolation in the world and damage the country's economy.
He outlined the political and economic "achievements" that he and his predecessor Ariel Sharon enjoyed when they were in office, saying that in their terms annual US aid to Israel increased by 20%, amounting to $30 billion over 10 years. "When I was Prime Minister, we held negotiations without freezing construction, but we came to the table with a daring peace plan," he added.