"Bush Totally Mooted Sharon´s Plan to Retain Settlement Blocs"

The head of ex-PM Y. Shamir's Bureau says that Bush has voided of all significance Ariel Sharon's promise of U.S. recognition of Israel's right to keep large population centers in Judea and Samaria.

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, | updated: 11:34

The spokesman is Yossi Ben-Aharon - a long-time Foreign Service official and currently a writer and commentator on current events.

Ben-Aharon told Arutz-7 that Israel has nothing to be happy about following Abu Mazen's visit to Washington this past Thursday: "Bush said that no change in the 1949 armistice lines could be considered for the final status without the agreement of the Palestinian Authority. This emptied of all content that which Sharon has bragged about the U.S. recognizing, for the first time, Israel's right to annex settlement blocs."

Ben-Aharon said that Bush's remarks at his press conference with Abu Mazen shows that the disengagement from Gaza has been incorporated into the Road Map, "and it is no longer what the prime minister said it was, namely, a process that will delay the implementation of the Road Map."

Bush promised Abu Mazen a $50 million gift following the disengagement - "a gift that is not conditional on anything," Ben Aharon said. He noted yet another PA achievement during Abu Mazen's visit: "Increased American involvement in the process in general, and in security arrangements in particular. This is unprecedented, because up to now, Israel has zealously guarded its exclusivity in contacts and security coordination with the Palestinians. This could lead Israel to pay a large price in its relations with the U.S."

"Bush very gently reminded Abu Mazen of his commitments to rein in the terrorist organizations," Ben Aharon said, "but essentially set him up as one who stands opposite the 'Hamas extremists.' Sharon, too, said at today's Cabinet meeting that we must support the 'centrist' and 'moderate' movement of Abu Mazen - this is the same Oslo trap that Yitzchak Rabin and [Shimon] Peres fell into when they said that we must strengthen and support Arafat. But the fact is that over the years, we have seen that it is the Palestinian Authority that is constantly funding and encouraging terrorism against Israel."

"We see that not only has a great question mark been placed on the entire process of the disengagement, but the entire government policy is shown in its nakedness. In short, the emperor has no clothes."

"The United States is our friend," Ben-Aharon said, "but if it is dealing with a country that stupidly decides to make concessions, why should it argue with us? It presents the U.S. in a good light vis-a-vis with the Arabs... so why should the U.S. be more Catholic than the Pope?"

"Israel's public relations campaign is most strange," Ben-Aharon lamented. "Every time an Arab or Palestinian leader arrives in the U.S., his emphasis is on criticism of Israel: Israel's conquest, the arrests, demolition of houses, everything. But when an Israeli leader arrives, what does he have to say? 'We offer our hand in peace, the Palestinians are suffering, we have done so much for them, we ask the Administration to provide them with aid, etc.' - and he barely says anything about the PA's violations, the terrorism, the incitement, etc. So it's no wonder that the impression is created throughout the world, and especially in Washington, that Israel is the bad guy and that the conquest must be stopped to allow the poor Palestinians their freedom. If we don't change our tune, we will continue to pay a heavy price."

Israeli leaders seem to think it's "beneath their dignity" to directly quote PA leaders and their incitement against Israel, Ben-Aharon feels. "If they would show the true picture of how the PA covers up for and encourages terrorism, and shows how the democratization process in the PA is a fraud, this might lead the Congress not to approve the President's $50 million grant to the PA - but rather to demand that the PA really take genuine steps to become democratic."