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Barak: Now´s Not The Time To Talk Of Evacuating Gaza

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak is not pleased with his party's call for the evacuation of Jews from Gaza - and says that terrorists "with blood on their hands" should not be released now.
First Publish: 7/15/2003, 12:10 PM

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak is not pleased with his party's call for the evacuation of Jews from Gaza. "We need to reach a comprehensive solution," he told the Labor Party's Young Guard last night, "and not to deal with evacuation. You have to be really moonstruck to go to Gaza at a time like this and explain to the residents [why] they have to leave." He was referring to the trip on Sunday by a dozen Labor MKs to meet with Jewish residents of Gush Katif and Kfar Darom.

Barak also said that terrorists "with blood on their hands" should be released only after a peace agreement is signed. His explanation was not entirely consistent, however. The ex-Prime Minister said that the release of murderers is a "moral issue," and that victims' families could be traumatized by it.

Barak said that he does not rule out a return to politics, implying that he hopes he "will not be drafted." Other excerpts: "Labor needs a leader that will put the country's interests ahead of those of the party, like Rabin and myself... The Road Map is a very bad plan, into which we were dragged because [Ariel Sharon] didn't formulate an Israeli plan that would be acceptable to the world... Sharon won't be able to sign an agreement destroying his life-work [the settlements]... Arafat is isolated not because he's locked up in the Mukata, but because of the agreement he rejected in Camp David [in which Barak offered him 97% of Judea and Samaria, all of Gaza, most of eastern Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount]."