Prime Minister Olmert has offered an important plan for creating a lasting climate of peace and security in the region. He has offered the prospect of a "real, open, genuine and serious dialogue" with Palestinian President Abbas, but with conditions, including release of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, implementation of the "road-map" offered by President Bush, and replacement of the Hamas government by one willing to recognize Israel. Importantly, he has offered the eventuality of an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty and defined borders.

If both sides can move past the obstacles currently in the way of real dialogue on a two-state solution, there is hope for a lasting climate of peace. However, peace cannot come at the cost of Israel's security. For the climate of lasting peace to exist, is time for Israel's conciliatory offers to be matched with real, substantive action from Palestinian leaders with the support of other influential Arab leaders in the region.