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US and Israeli Officials: Yesha Headed for Destruction

The US demands that Israel evacuate and abandon all Jewish communities behind the anti-terror partition fence. So says Elliot Abrams, director of the National Security Council Middle East section.
First Publish: 12/9/2004, 11:58 AM / Last Update: 12/8/2004, 2:59 PM

Abrams gave this short-thrift treatment to the 250,000-strong, 35-year-old Jewish settlement enterprise when speaking to American Jewish leaders recently. They were visiting Washington when Abrams told them, "It's clear to us that in the end, the settlements on the other side of the partition will be dismantled."

Abrams, considered a pro-Israel element in the American government, said that the US has no plans to suffice merely with the uprooting of the Jewish presence in northern Samaria and Gaza. He explained that the Americans will support Israel's retention of "settlement blocs" only if Israel uproots everything else in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

The five "settlement blocs" in question are Ariel and environs, Gush Etzion, and Kiryat Arba/Hevron, as well as the city of Maaleh Adumim and the town of Givat Ze'ev. US President Bush has never formally expressed his consent to Israel's demand to retain these areas.

The Prime Minister's Bureau, according to Maariv newspaper, seems unfazed by Abrams' remarks. Even if this is the American stance, a staffer said, "Israel has a different position, and ours will be the one to determine." This does not jibe, however, with Prime Minister Sharon's oft-repeated position that Israeli policy will coordinated with the US.

In fact, there have been indications that the position stated by Abrams is shared within the Sharon government. Former Herzliya Mayor Eli Landau, a good friend of Prime Minister Sharon, told Arutz-7 three months ago that Sharon's withdrawal plan "would eventually take Israel all the way back to the anti-terrorism partition fence."

Of even greater concern to pro-Yesha elements is a statement uttered just yesterday in a session of the Knesset Law Committee. Itamar Yaar, a senior figure in Israel's National Security Council, said outright, "The goal of the disengagement plan is to bring about a new reality, a permanent arrangement in which there will not be Jewish settlement in these areas [Judea and Samaria]."

Yaar said this in response to a question by MK Yitzchak Levy (NRP). Levy asked why the residents of Gush Katif and northern Shomron are being directed only to the Galilee and the Negev, and not to other areas of Judea and Samaria. Yaar then provided the above explanation. Committee Chairman Michael Eitan (Likud) was astonished at this answer, and demanded that Yaar clarify his remarks – but Yaar did not do so.