Sharon Explains Disengagement Rationale

(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon - In a speech at the annual Israel Hi-Tech conference, Prime Minister Sharon spelled out the rationale for his disengagement plan. He said this move will stabilize the security situation, reduce terror and, primarily, "anchor a determined American position in writing that rejects any political plan which endangers Israel, any plan that does not precondition political progress with the elimination of terror." This American commitment "will free us from having to accept and face pressure to adopt policies that do not consider it necessary for the Palestinians to fight terror. We must take the political initiative into our hands in order to ensure the political and security interests of Israel for many years to come." Sharon said the current impasse presented him with four possibilities. The first option was to essentially annex the territories, taking over responsibility for the 1.8 million Palestinians living there. "Israel has no interest in taking responsibility for and ruling over the Palestinians' lives. I do not think we should allocate billions of shekels from our budget at this time to deal with the Palestinians' education, welfare, and sewage." The second option was a complete withdrawal from the territories "in return for vague promises." He said this option would be "a disaster for Israel in terms of security, as well as practically impossible to implement." The third option is to maintain the status quo. But the status quo is dangerous for Israel because "a deadlock cannot last forever. The world will not allow the impasse to continue. A dead end will, sooner or later, bring about political initiatives which are dangerous to Israel." The fourth option is unilateral disengagement. Its basic principles include: Establishing a security line along which the IDF will be deployed, "in areas essential for Israel's defense" Erecting a physical obstacle to make terrorist infiltration into large population centers more difficult Withdrawal from areas which will clearly not be under Israeli control in any future permanent agreement and which are sources of great friction, "such as the Gaza Strip" Obtaining the political support of the U.S. and other "friends around the world" for the plan.

2004-04-01 00:00:00

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