Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Binyamin Netanyahu

Israeli Finance Minister and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he can only support a unilateral withdrawl from Gaza under certain conditions:

Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu clarified this morning his stance on the disengagement plan. Yesterday he set three conditions without which he could not support the plan, but upon their fulfillment "I would definitely consider supporting the plan in a positive light." The three conditions he laid down were:

* Israel must control all entrances and exits to the Gaza Strip, including the Philadelphi route separating Egypt and Gaza.
* The counter-terrorism partition fence around Judea and Samaria must be completed before the retreat begins. Included in the "Israeli areas" must be settlement blocs in Yesha.
* The Americans must issue public declarations against the so-called Right of Return for Arabs who left Israel in 1948.

Netanyahu also said yesterday - though he did not make this a formal condition - that we must not retreat under fire, but must rather ensure that Gaza-based terrorism is neutralized before a withdrawal. He also said that though he himself would not have initiated a unilateral withdrawal, "Sharon has decided upon it and we must go from there."


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