UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Israel had no reason to oppose Palestine’s UN observer state membership, according to ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert, who plans to announce Wednesday whether he will run in the next polls. “I have made my decision and I will announce it in two days,” Olmert told AFP of his political future, after a speech in New York late Monday during which he renewed criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said a decision to announcement new settlements in a sensitive occupied area was “certain to offend” the United States after it backed Israel in opposing the Palestinian bid to become a non-member state.

“To be honest with you, I am not sure there was a reason to oppose the request from the Palestinian Authority to upgrade their status,” Olmert said in his speech. Olmert, who is seeking to rebound from a corruption case that forced him to stand down as premier in 2008, said the UN vote last week served Israeli interests more than Palestinian ones because it boosted hopes for a two-state solution.

The former premier praised the “outstanding expression of courage” shown by the US administration in backing Israel at the UN last week. The United States and Israel were among only nine countries to oppose the Palestinians.