Sharon: No More Disengagements, Just Road Map

PM Sharon said today that the Road Map is the only plan on the agenda. He did not mention the 14 qualifications the Cabinet attached to it in May 2003 - which Sharon termed "red lines" at the time.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 13:08

Speaking at the Israel Management Center in Tel Aviv this morning, Sharon negated rumors that he is intending to disengage unilaterally from additional parts of the Land of Israel. "We will not promote any plan other than the Road Map," he said. "We have invested much thought, and we have no other plan that is better for the future of Israel."

Sharon compared the situation to that in Ireland: "We saw what happened in the last few days in Ireland, where they made sure to disarm [the terrorists of] illegal weapons, as I intend to continue to insist on. Only if the Palestinians do this will we be able to begin negotiations."

He did not, however, note any of the 14 qualifications that the Cabinet attached to the Road Map plan back in May 2003. These stipulate the following, among others:

* The PA must form new organizations to combat terror, violence and incitement.
* Incitement must cease immediately and that the PA must educate for peace.
* The above clauses constitute conditions for progress to the next stage of the Road Map.
* The PA must declare Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and must waive any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel.
* There must be no discussion of final-status issues, such as settlements in Judea and Samaria (excluding a settlement freeze and unauthorized outposts) and the status of the PA and its institutions in Jerusalem.

Sharon had great praise for his disengagement/expulsion plan, saying that in its merit, "We now have an opportunity that we never had before. The world has accepted our position that without achieving security for Israel, there can be no diplomatic progress."

"The implementation of the disengagement plan was fruitful in every way," the Prime Minister said. "Israel's diplomatic situation improved inestimably, and there is a significant drop in the level of terror. We have renewed and increased foreign investment in Israel, we we have brought about a great increase in exports and tourism, and dropped the unemployment rate."

Sharon's negation of future disengagements contrast somewhat with recent remarks by his press advisor Eyal Arad. Speaking at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Institute on Wednesday, Arad said, "If we see that the [diplomatic] stalemate continues, it is likely that we will consider turning the disengagement into an Israeli strategy. Israel will determine its borders independently."

Army Radio reported today that IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash expressed himself in a similar manner.