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Sharon: One Expulsion Delay Won´t Mean Another One

In a rare radio interview this morning, PM Ariel Sharon told Army Radio that though the disengagement may be pushed off because of the Three Weeks mourning period, it will still be carried out.
First Publish: 4/21/2005, 3:19 PM / Last Update: 4/21/2005, 3:23 PM

"The disengagement will be carried out, in no uncertain terms, according to the decisions of the government and the Knesset," the Prime Minister said. "A problem of the Three Weeks has arisen, and it will be checked. But if someone thinks that this will be an opening for postponements or lack of implementation or pressures, he is simply mistaken. The disengagement will be carried out."

Though Labor Party ministers are against the idea, Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz recommended today that the disengagement be postponed until after Tisha B'Av (Sunday, August 14). Tisha B'Av, a Jewish day of fasting, is the day on which both Holy Temples were destroyed, hundreds of years apart. A consultation on the issues was held this afternoon with representatives of the IDF, GSS, Public Security Ministry, and others.

Speaking to Army Radio reporters at his farm in the Negev, Sharon said that people will be allowed to visit Gush Katif during the Passover holiday - "except for those who arouse suspicion that they may try to remain there afterwards and disrupt the disengagement plan."

Sharon repeated claims made of late by Housing Minister Yitzchak Herzog that the lack of organization in the government ministries regarding this plan is the fault of the residents themselves. "The negotiations with the residents were delayed chiefly because the residents refused to talk with the various elements in charge of compensation," he said. Gush Katif leaders explained to Arutz-7 yesterday that they never agreed to leave their homes in the first place. "It's not our job to cooperate with [their] plans to make us refugees," Gaza Coast Regional Council head Avner Shimoni said, "it's [their] job to find the proper solutions for us." Another official said, "The government can blame us for not talking with them, but the fact is that we raised the issue of moving to Nitzanim three months ago - and the government laughed at us."

Prime Minister Sharon also related to Iran's race to acquire nuclear weapons. "It could be that the solution will be an internal political change in Iran... Israel need not lead the fight [against Iran]; it should be run by an international coalition. But even an internal change can occur only if there is pressure."