one man's conspiracy is another man's business plan
Saturday, December 20, 2003 |
Sharon issues his ultimatum
It could be a threat, a concession or just a bluff, but the West Bank "disengagement plan" revealed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon early yesterday has something to offend everybody except the Israeli centre at which it was aimed.
In his keynote speech to the annual security conference in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, Mr Sharon announced that if there was no agreement with the Palestinians under the stalled US-backed "road map" within the next few months, Israel would impose its own unilateral solution by redeploying to lines of its own choosing.
If forced to take this unilateral action, Mr Sharon warned, Palestinians would be worse off than if they had negotiated an agreement.
The speech broke new ground - and infuriated the Israeli right - by not only promising (again) to dismantle some of the recently established Jewish settlement "outposts" in the West Bank, but by speaking for the first time of redeploying some of the smaller, more isolated older settlements.
But in the same speech Mr Sharon also stated bluntly for the first time that there were areas of the occupied territories that Israel would never give up.
"Israel will strengthen its control over those same areas in the Land of Israel (Israel plus the West Bank) which will constitute an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement," Mr Sharon said.
"I know you would like to hear names, but we should leave something for later."
The speech follows weeks of hints from within Mr Sharon's Administration that he plans to "withdraw" Israeli troops and some settlers behind the line of the controversial fence which Israel is building inside the West Bank.
Palestinians have long complained that the fence dips deep into their territory to take in armed Jewish settlements planted by Israel inside the seized Arab territories and regarded as illegal by most of the international community.
They say it will also physically annex East Jerusalem and more than 40 per cent of the remainder of the West Bank, including the Jordan valley, to Israel.
The rest of the land they claim for a future state would be turned into a series of discontinuous "bantustans", surrounded by Israeli troops and armed settlements and under only nominal Palestinian control.
The Palestinian Authority reacted angrily to Mr Sharon's speech, saying it confirmed predictions that the fence was a new land grab disguised as a security measure.
"I am disappointed to hear that he (Sharon) is threatening the Palestinians," said recently appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie. "I was expecting something new. We are committed to reaching a permanent agreement... If Mr Sharon is ready to start negotiations we can do it sooner than anybody can expect."
In the Gaza Strip, the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, said: "Sharon is asking Palestinians to raise white flags, to surrender. This is totally rejected by our people. We will not surrender and our people will defend themselves."
The Israeli plan was also criticised by the White House, despite Mr Sharon's statement that it would not conflict with the US-sponsored road map for peace and would be co-ordinated with the US.
"We would oppose any unilateral steps that block the road towards negotiations under the road map," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.
"The United States believes that a settlement must be negotiated and we would oppose any effort - any Israeli effort - to impose a settlement."
Later, however, a Bush Administration official briefing reporters in Washington hailed Mr Sharon's speech as positive.
He said Mr Sharon had reaffirmed the road map and any suggestion the White House was displeased with him was a misreading of what Scott McClellan said.
Even the suggestion of dismantling established West Bank settlements is a departure for Mr Sharon, a veteran hawk who campaigned bitterly against the previous Oslo peace process on the grounds that it meant giving up Israel's claim to the entire Biblical Land of Israel.
Within Israel, his apparent change of heart is attributed to his falling popularity with the Israeli centre, which is worried about the lack of any initiative to end the three-year intifada.
Polls show that most Israelis believe the security fence is justified and necessary to prevent Palestinian terror attacks but are also willing to give up territory and settlements in return for peace. Many are also concerned that in the absence of a separate Palestinian state, higher Arab birth rates could soon make Jews a minority in the lands currently under Israeli control.
The battered Israeli left, which has long warned of this "demographic time bomb" reacted coolly to Mr Sharon's speech. Veteran Labour Party leader and former prime minister Shimon Peres told Israeli television that the speech merely delayed inevitable decisions.
The plan was supported by Tsachi Hanegbi, Public Security Minister and a hardline member of Mr Sharon's right-wing Likud party. "He is warning them (Palestinians), if you don't rein in terror, forget about it, you won't get anything," he said.
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum.
Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage
had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage
propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who
should be put in a cage on gitmo Skinner
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
peopleforchange.netductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks
Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
He ain't nuthin' but shit
inadequate, halfway house bullshit
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple." hamletta
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh
dailykos.coma turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
A compost pile of fecundity
dailykos.comdespicable and literally mentally ill