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Yamit evacuee in Gaza prefers PA rule (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 02/03/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1107314592141 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Avi Farhan says he would rather live in his Elei Sinai home under Palestinian rule than agree to move out of the Gaza Strip as demanded by the government´s disengagement plan.

It´s the second time the 58-year-old is facing a forced evacuation. In 1982, he was among those forcibly removed from the Sinai community of Yamit under the terms of a peace deal with Egypt.

At the time he thought of setting up a refugee camp near the Erez crossing until he could be returned to Yamit, where he had lived for seven years. Instead he was persuaded by a representative of Ariel Sharon to put his energies into creating the seaside community of Elei Sinai.

Now he´s had enough of moving. He will leave only if a national referendum is held with results proving the majority of the voters support disengagement.

Otherwise, Farhan told the Post, "if the government of Israel that pushed me out of Yamit is giving up on me, then I am giving up on the government.

"There is no reason for Gaza to be Judenrein," he added.

Israelis live all over the world, in Canada and America, so why can´t he live in a Palestinian area, Farhan asked.

A government source dismissed Farhan´s idea as a gimmick to emphasize the extent to which some settlers were determined to stay in their homes.

Gaza under Palestinian rule is not America or Canada, as Israel does not have full diplomatic relations with it, said the source. The government was moving them because it did not believe it was safe for them to stay in such a situation, said the source.

"If it were an orderly country that would be one thing, but how can he stay there with the kind of incitement that goes on," the source added.

Farhan said he wasn´t scared to remain. "They do not kill Israelis in other places in the world, so why would they do it here?" he asked.

Farhan said the answer that remaining was dangerous was only indicative of why disengagement was problematic. Leaving Gaza, whether unilaterally or within the context of an agreement, made sense only if it restored peaceful relations, he said.

"If there is peace, there is no reason why Jews should leave Gaza," he added.

Instead of evacuating the Jewish residents the government should be working on an agreement with the Palestinians that would allow them to live in the area, Farhan said. It´s possible that they could even be part of a population exchange or territorial exchange, where a number of Palestinians could remain where they were but still be bound to the Palestinian government even though they technically lived in Israel, while Israelis could remain in their homes in Palestinian areas while still being bound to the Israeli government.

Worst case scenario, he said, he would simply remain as an Israeli living under Palestinian rule.

The government source said that it was legally problematic for Israelis to live under Palestinian rule in Gaza. "I do not believe that when you are in a state of war that the government can allow its people to remain," said the source.

Eran Sternberg, a spokesman for Gush Katif, said that Farhan was in the extreme minority when it came to this idea and that most people were fighting to keep the area within Israeli control. (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 02/03/05)


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