Report: Lieberman Not Averse to Unilateral Withdrawal
Foreign Minister Lieberman has not ruled out the possibility of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from much of Judea and Samaria, Yisrael Hayom reports.
Lieberman’s stance - as expressed in closed-door meetings - was compared to that of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also raised the possibility of a major withdrawal in the region.
Lieberman, however, conditioned his approval for a withdrawal on two things: that Israel’s security interests would not be harmed, and that the international community would recognize the move as legitimate.
He rejected the idea, raised by Barak, that Israelis living in areas affected by the withdrawal could choose to remain in their homes as citizens of the Palestinian Authority.
Shortly before Yom Kippur, Defense Minister Barak shared his plan for a Judea and Samaria withdrawal in an interview with Yisrael Hayom. Barak said he would keep the “settlement blocs,” including Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, and Ariel, allowing roughly 90% of Israelis living east of the 1948 armistice line to remain in their homes.
The IDF would remain in strategically important areas, Barak said.
Barak’s plan would mean evicting tens of thousands of people from dozens of Israeli towns and villages. He proposed easing the process by offering financial incentives to leave, and by providing new towns so that entire communities could move together. A similar initiative prior to the expulsion of Israelis from Gaza in 2005 was made less successful by the fact that most of the new communities remain incomplete.