No Honeymoon for Palestinian Chief

(New York Times) Steven Erlanger - Sharon was troubled by the Western euphoria over Abbas and concerned that Israel would be pushed into concessions about a Palestinian state before the whole issue of Palestinian terrorism against Israel was dealt with seriously. That choice, which is what his aides think characterized the 1990s and the Oslo process, Israel does not intend to make again. More important, his own Gaza disengagement plan depends on quiet in Gaza. He has stated many times that Israel will not evacuate settlers under fire or allow the militants to make it seem that Israel is pulling out of Gaza defeated. Sharon, who ordered Israeli troops into the West Bank in the spring of 2002 to stop an increase in suicide bombings, is considering doing the same in Gaza. It would be costly for the army but extremely popular at home. It may be the only way for Sharon to pull out of Gaza cleanly. And in private, some Israeli officials say, it might be the best wedding present he could give Mahmoud Abbas.

2005-01-17 00:00:00

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