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Envoy Ayalon: Expulsion Part of US-Israeli Policy

The Sharon government's plan to expel Jews from Gaza and turn the area over to the PA is part of an overall Israeli-American agreement, according to Danny Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/22/2005, 2:45 PM / Last Update: 7/22/2005, 4:52 PM

Ayalon, in an interview with the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, also reversed previous government statements, saying that Israel does not expect the Palestinian Authority (PA) to dismantle terrorist infrastructure until after the planned expulsion. Ending terrorism and anti-Israel incitement were conditions Israel had demanded from the PA before carrying out the plan. Ayalon added that the PA force will help protect the IDF from terrorist attacks during the planned expulsion

The pullout agreement with the White House is more important than an agreement with the PA, the ambassador asserted. "Disengagement has to be viewed in the context of Israel-United States relations," he stated. "This pullout did not follow an agreement with the Palestinians, but it followed something which is much more important, an agreement with the United States. Disengagement is something that creates a common agenda between us and the United States."

When asked how much the withdrawal depends on the Arabs, while the Israeli agreement is with Washington, Ayalon altered previous government demands that the PA control terrorism before the pullout. "After the disengagement, they will have to dismantle the terror infrastructure…. They will have to arrest the fugitives and the known terrorists, break their cells and do it on a sustainable basis, so they can really come with us and negotiate on the roadmap," according to Ayalon.

Ayalon, in an article he published in the Washington Post earlier in the week, wrote, "The Palestinian Authority's refusal to disarm terrorist organizations has enabled the terrorists to regroup and renew deadly attacks against Israelis…. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has invited Hamas into his government, thereby providing a terrorist organization with an official seal of approval."

He told the Jewish Journal that Israel will allow the PA to move 5,000 soldiers and police from Judea and Samaria to the Gaza region in order to prevent terrorist attacks and to help protect the IDF by serving as a buffer.

The overall US-American policy incorporates the expulsion plan and an American commitment denying Arabs the right of return and assuring Israel that Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion will remain a part of Israel and subject to negotiations with the PA.

The PA has repeatedly insisted that Israel must surrender these areas before there can be any peace agreement.