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Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu: Gov?t Moves Blindly as Withdrawal Threatens Security

Netanyahu explained the reasons for his resignation saying that Hamas is building "an Islamic terror" base in Gaza as Israel "runs away under terror." Gov't moves "blindly along" despite warnings.
By Scott Shiloh
First Publish: 8/7/2005, 5:10 PM / Last Update: 8/7/2005, 7:24 PM

Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, explaining the reasons for his sudden resignation Sunday afternoon at a news conference that started shortly after 6:00 P.M., said that the impending withdrawal from Gaza will create “an Islamic terror base” in that region that endangers the future of the State of Israel.

He said the that the government, despite the warnings of the security establishment and an upsurge in terror, is “continuing blindly along” with its program to destroy Jewish towns and villages in Gaza and hand the entire territory over to the Palestinian Authority, while getting nothing in return.

Without mentioning Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by name, Netanyahu said the Likud-led government was working against the platform on which it was elected and against “Likud party ideals.”

Netanyahu warned of a worsening security situation exacerbated by abandoning the Philadelphi Route to Palestinian forces and allowing the PA to operate a seaport which would provide an avenue for smuggling huge quantities of weapons into the region.

He cited the Karine A ship that was caught smuggling large quantities of weapons into Gaza for use by the Palestinian Authority against Israel, saying it would be followed by “Karine C and D with weapons that will threaten Ashkelon and anything else.”

Netanyahu, who resigned after the government approved implementing the first phase the expulsion plan by a vote of 17-5, compared the expulsion and withdrawal from Gaza to the failed Oslo accords. "Like in Oslo, the warning signs are being ignored. I understand the intentions here – who doesn't want peace? But here in the Middle East this is not the way to attain peace – it has failed before and it will fail again," he said.

Netanyahu said he did not think his resignation would stop the disengagement, “as there is an automatic majority in the Knesset and cabinet." He said his resignation was meant to serve his own conscience and the history books.

"My father is a historian, and I do not want to go down in history as being a party to this. However, I also did not want to go down in history as not having followed through in implementing these economic reforms.”

"At moments of truth a leader must ask himself what he stands for and what he is working towards?" Netanyahu said. "And I cannot be a part of this disengagement."

In his resignation letter, which Netanyahu handed the prime minister at 4:00 Sunday afternoon, after walking out of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, the Finance Minister emphasized security issues relating to abandoning control of the Philadelphi route along the Egypt-Gaza border.

"I had demanded that we keep the Philadelphi route to counter the impression that we are running away from terrorism. The government is ignoring the reality: Terrorism is continuing, the Hamas is growing stronger, terrorists will smuggle weapons from Gaza to the southern West Bank.

"I don't know when terrorism will erupt in full force - my hope is that it won't ever. But I am convinced today that the disengagement will eventually aggravate terrorism instead of reducing it. The security establishment also expects an increase in terrorism. The withdrawal endangers Israel's security, divides its people and set the standards of the withdrawal to the '67 border," Netanyahu wrote.