Israeli unilateral withdrawal from West Bank will perpetuate Mideast conflict, Palestinian official says (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Barak Ravid 05/31/12)
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A top Palestinian official rejected a suggestion made by Defense
Minister Ehud Barak, according to which Israel should consider
unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank in case peace talks
failed, saying on Wednesday that such a move would only serve to
perpetuate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Speaking at Tel Aviv University´s Institute for National Security
Studies (INSS) earlier in the day, Barak said: "We are a coalition of
94 MKs, this is the time to lead a diplomatic process," adding,
however, that if such an attempt failed, "we must consider an interim
arrangement or even a unilateral move."
"We are on borrowed time. We will reach a wall, and we´ll pay the
price. People who are now in a coma will then ask how we didn´t see
[this coming]," he added.
In response to Barak´s remarks, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas´
chief aide Nabil Abu Rudineh said later Wednesday that an "Israeli
unilateral moves will lead to the formation of a Palestinian state in
temporary borders, to which we object."
"This policy will lead to the conflict´s continuation and not to a
solution, burying the two-state solution," Abu Rudineh said, adding
that the Palestinian Authority was committed to "a final agreement in
which a Palestinian state will be formed with Jerusalem as its
"Without Jerusalem, we won´t agree to anything," he added.
Also responding to Barak´s comments, Education Minister Gideon Sa´ar
severely criticized the defense minister, saying that his "position
did not represent the government´s position, one that is in a clear
minority both in the government and in the coalition."
"It´s strange how some people are willing to toy with such a
dangerous notion after the utter failure of [Israel´s] unilateral
disengagement from the Gaza Strip," Sa´ar added.
In another response to Barak´s comment, the head of the Yesha
Settlement Council Danny Dayan said that "anyone speaking about a
unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank seven years after the
catastrophe of the disengagement is a lost cause."
"Barak has learned nothing from his own mistake in Lebanon and from
[former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon´s in Gaza. The 94-MK coalition
needs to be used to bolster Israel, not to weaken it." (© Copyright
2012 Ha´aretz 05/31/12)
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