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Sharon´s Party Favors Palestinian State

Sharon's Kadima party platform, presented to the public Monday, is identical to Labor's on the Israeli-Arab conflict. It vows to keep only Jerusalem and settlement blocs - less than 10% of Yesha.

By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/29/2005, 1:26 PM / Last Update: 11/29/2005, 2:28 PM

Justice Minister Tzippy Livny, one of the leading Cabinet ministers who bolted the Likud to join Sharon's party, presented the new party's platform yesterday.

The platform's main diplomatic points:
* A Palestinian state should be established in Judea and Samaria.
* The PA state is to be demilitarized and clean of terrorism.
* Jerusalem and Jewish settlement blocs must remain under Israeli sovereignty.
* Israel must balance the need to retain a Jewish majority with maintaining control of some of the areas in dispute.

Arutz-7 diplomatic correspondent Haggai Huberman noted that the "demilitarized and clean of terrorism" clause is fairly questionable, as the PA has never fulfilled similar clauses in the past or agreed to do so.

Huberman explained that the "settlement bloc" issue, as well, raises many questions. "To many people who are not familiar with the map," Huberman said, "it sounds impressive, as if Israel will retain a great presence in Judea and Samaria. But for those who do know the situation - and it can be seen on the ground when you look at the partition fence/wall that's being built - it's a very different picture. The blocs that are being talked about are really not very large at all."

The blocs in question are three: The Shomron city of Ariel and environs, the city of Maaleh Adumim just east of Jerusalem, and Gush Etzion, between Jerusalem and Hevron. Huberman said that each of them presents a problem:

"Take Ariel, for instance. We're no longer talking about a bloc, but just the city of Ariel with a little addition to the west. The communities of Emanuel, Yakir, Revavah and the like no longer seem to be under consideration. Or take Gush Etzion; the fence/wall as currently planned and built divides it in two parts, such that it's not clear whether there is any real intention to retain the communities of Nokdim, Tekoa, and El-David - which are on the 'wrong' side - or to abandon them. The same in Maaleh Adumim; it is not clear if the 'bloc' there includes Kfar Adumim, Mishor Adumim and Alon, or just the city itself.

"But even if we assume that Sharon wants to keep the maximum area in all these cases, it still means that Israel will retain no more than 10% of Judea and Samaria. This means that when Ariel Sharon says he wants to keep settlement blocs, it means he wants to give away 90% of the area. This is practically the same as Yossi Beilin's and Labor's plans, not including Jerusalem [which the latter agree to divide].

"And if we assume that in all of the above cases, Sharon plans to keep only the minimal areas for Israel, then it means that he is agreeing to a Palestinian state on 93-94% of the land - which is not that different than what Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat in Camp David several years ago."

"They also did not mention [retaining] the Jordan Valley yesterday," Huberman said. "I listened carefully for that. Not to mention that the partition fence is on the Jordan River, east of the Jordan Valley, and that there is a tremendous border crossing terminal near Mecholah. All this does not bode well for keeping the Jordan Valley under Israeli sovereignty."

"This is not just theoretical," the long-time Arutz-7 commentator and Land of Israel author said. "By looking at the fence/wall being built, we see that Sharon's party has essentially adopted the left-wing position that the fence will be a political one, not just a defensive one, that it will be Israel's final border, and that all the Jewish communities on its other side will be destroyed."

"From a political angle," Huberman added, "it's important to note that the route of the fence/wall was actually designed by Mofaz [the current Defense Minister, who is now running for head of the Likud Party - ed.] Mofaz is the one who built it and planned it. For this reason, Sharon is interested in having Mofaz win the Likud leadership, so that it will be easier for him [Sharon] to implement his policies."