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Daily Israel Report

Arens Opposes Disengagement

First Publish: 10/15/2004, 1:42 PM / Last Update: 10/15/2004, 2:06 PM

Moshe Arens of the Likud, who served thrice in the past as Defense Minister, calls on the Prime Minister to cancel the disengagement plan. In an article in Haaretz this week, Arens writes:

"Ever since the prime minister announced the disengagement plan - speculation has been rife regarding the reasons for this move. What sense does it make to hand the Palestinian terrorists a sense of achievement at this time? Why go counter to the positions of the Likud party he heads? Why break up the most stable government coalition Israel has had in many years? Why reverse the position he presented to the voters at the last election? And why plunge the country into the trauma of uprooting settlers from their homes without receiving any Palestinian concessions in return?

"What in the world made him do it? The most bizarre reasons have been proposed to explain this U-turn in Sharon's policies. But now the cat is out of the bag. Dov Weisglass, the prime minister's former bureau chief, in his interview with Ari Shavit (Haaretz Magazine, October 8) has revealed the secret: put the blame on Yossi Beilin. [Weisglass said,] 'In the fall of 2003 we understood that everything was stuck. And even though according to the American reading of the situation, the blame fell on the Palestinians and not on us, Arik grasped that this state of affairs would not last... Time was not on our side. There was international erosion, internal erosion. Domestically, in the meantime, everything was collapsing. The economy was stagnant, and the Geneva Initiative garnered broad support.'

"...Yossi Beilin's Geneva initiative? Any astute observer knew that this ludicrous 'agreement' was stillborn and would go nowhere. By now it has been long forgotten, and not because of the disengagement plan. Was this a reason to announce that Israel was going to uproot the settlers of Gush Katif?

"... If for some strange reason the Prime Minister's Office believed that after the announcement of our leaving the area, some of our friends who had been badgering us to return to the 1967 lines would decide to leave Israel alone and tell the Palestinians that now the ball was in their court, that has not come about.

"And the Palestinians? From Arafat to the Hamas, they saw in the withdrawal from Gush Katif a sign that terrorism pays off. Only an appetizer, increasing their appetite for further Israeli withdrawals, their mouth watering as they visualize Ashkelon coming into range of the Kassam rockets after the Israeli withdrawal. It is beginning to look as if the disengagement plan has turned into a prescription for dragging Israel deeper into the morass of Gaza..."