Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has dismissed out of hand the "agreement" reached between left-wing MKs and PA leaders. He told his aides that he would ordinarily not even relate to the matter, but he doesn't want "anyone in the world to fool himself into thinking that it could ever become a basis for a future arrangement with Israel."
The agreement itself, Sharon says, is a "catastrophe." Labor Party leaders Amram Mitzna and Avraham Burg, together with initiator Yossi Beilin, are planning to sign the agreement "on behalf" of Israel.
The agreement stipulates that the Temple Mount and most of the Old City of Jerusalem will come under Arab control. The Western Wall will remain Israeli, as will Zion and Dung Gates - but the other city gates will be under Arab control. Jews will be permitted, according to the agreement, to "walk freely" from Jaffa Gate to the Jewish Quarter.
Furthermore, the cities of Ariel and Efrat, as well as most other Jewish communities in Yesha, will be dismantled and evacuated, according to the agreement. All in all, 100,000 Jews are to be evacuated from their homes, according to Beilin/Mitzna/Burg.
The PA negotiators did not give up on the so-called "right of return," contrary to what has been publicized; the terms state that refugees will be able to live in Israel, but only with the agreement of Israel. Hisham Abdel Razek, one of the PA leaders who took part in the talks with Beilin's group, denied openly that his side had made any concessions on this issue. The Beilin/Mitzna/Burg agreement states that Israel will agree to absorb 30,000 refugees and the arrangement known as "reunification of families." The three left-wingers agreed that Israel will build two cities in the PA entity - in the Negev/Gaza and in Shomron - to house a half-million refugees.
Likud MK coalition whip Gideon Saar called the agreement "insane and ridiculous," and expressed sorrow that prominent Israelis would lend a hand to such a thing during wartime. "It goes much further than even the Clinton plan did," Saar said, "in that it gives up uninhabited Israeli territory in the Negev in place of the small amount of Yesha that they 'allow us' to keep. It's unbelievable that Israelis would make such an offer. I asked one of those involved: If you're already giving up Israeli land, why not give up land that is inhabited by Arabs [such as Um el-Fahm]? He said that this cannot be done because they're Israeli citizens - so I asked, 'and the people of Ariel who you wish to evacuate, they're not Israeli citizens?!'"
Saar further said that the agreement is financed by foreign sources in Europe. He charged that it harms Israeli interests in that it once again puts Israeli concessions on the table even though it's clear that the other side will never implement whatever 'concessions' they supposedly agreed to. "Who could ever imagine, with the arms-smuggling going on now in Rafiach, that we would not control the borders?" rhetorically asked Saar.
Justice Minister Tommy Lapid of Shinui also had harsh words for the agreement, saying that it does not achieve even one concrete concession towards Israel: "We'll evacuate 22,000 Jews from Ariel, take in thousands of Arabs, divide Jerusalem and give up the Temple Mount - all because Beilin and Mitzna have nothing to do in the opposition! ... Everyone here is sick of terrorism, but to give up everything in advance and to say that this is how to solve the problem is totally irresponsible. The only people who can sign such a thing are those who bear no responsibility for the results."
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, of the Labor Party, is also against the left-wingers' agreement. He called it "fictitious and strange, bad in both content and form."
Minister Uzi Landau (Likud), speaking with Arutz-7 today, said that the agreement serves the interests of only one side, "the enemies of Israel... The Israeli signatories must be condemned from every quarter." He said that following the stinging failure of the Oslo agreement, "the left should have performed harakiri (ritual suicide) on itself, but instead, it continues to drop more Oslo agreements on Israel."