Excursions on the Middle East, politics, the Levant, Islam in politics, civil society, and courage in the face of unbridled, otherwise unchecked power.
What next? How about a stall in the "peace"-process; from Le Monde Diplomatique:The plan was the result of the internal and external pressure on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government, combined with Sharon’s own will to hold on to large parts of the West Bank (45%-55%). His adviser, Dov Weisglass, considered to be the architect of the plan, explained this clearly in his interview with Ha’aretz (1): “In the autumn of 2003 we understood that everything is stuck . . . There is international erosion [of Israel’s position], there is internal erosion, everything collapses, the economy is in a hellish state. And when the Geneva intiative appeared, it received wide support. And than came the letters of the officers, the letters of the pilots [who refused to serve in the occupied territories].”According to Weisglass, Sharon decided to give up Gaza, which he had never considered as a national interest, to save the settlements in the West Bank and, more important, to prevent any negotiated agreement with the Palestinians. “The meaning of what we did is to freeze the negotiation process. And when you freeze the negotiation process, you prevent the creation of a Palestinian state and you prevent discussion on the refugee issue . . . The disengagement offers the right amount of formalin needed so that there will not be a negotiation process with the Palestinians.”
I want to thank Oscar for adding this documentation. As the remarks of Weisglass indicate, giving up Gaza is all about keeping the West Bank.Condie Rice's comment last week to the effect that the withdrawal cannot stop with Gaza is a welcome U.S. statement. But, we have heard tough statements before, as when Bush insisted that withdraw its forces from the West Bank. Sharon stiff-armed Bush and that is that. Let's see how stubborn Bush really is, and how politically courageous.
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