Mofaz Favors Uprooting More Towns, Despite Hamas Victory

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz plans to support more government efforts to uproot and destroy Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, despite the Hamas victory in the PA elections last week.

Scott Shiloh, | updated: 16:18

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, a government led by the Kadima party will attempt to implement another unilateral disengagement or withdrawal from areas in Judea and Samaria within a year after the March elections.

Mofaz believes that the election of Hamas to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority will only make it more necessary for Israel to implement unilateral withdrawals, because of the difficulty of reaching an agreement with a Hamas led government.

The Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. Hamas leaders have emphasized after last week’s electoral victory that acceptance of Israel, the Oslo agreements, or the U.S. backed roadmap for establishing a Palestinian State will not be forthcoming.

According to reports, the Hamas may be willing to enter into a long-term cease-fire arrangement with Israel, if it withdraws to the June 1967 lines. Such a withdrawal would require Israel to relinquish all of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount to the Palestinian Authority.

The defense minister does not favor a total Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, or from Jerusalem. Mofaz said he wants to see an Israeli move based on “national consensus.”

These words have been interpreted as meaning a willingness to withdraw from some areas, but retain settlement blocs, the Jordan Valley and all of Jerusalem under Israeli administration.

Mofaz assumes that a partial, but significant unilateral withdrawal from territory in Judea and Samaria, without any quid pro quo from the PA, will improve Israel’s international standing and better position the country for renewing negotiations with the PA at a later date.