The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Monday, December 01, 2003

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is considering dismantling Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip while simultaneously annexing blocs of West Bank settlements if peace efforts fail, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Sharon adviser Zalman Shoval stopped short of confirming the report, but suggested Israel would keep some areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and leave others, if it were to take unilateral steps in the absence of a peace deal. Sharon is under increasing pressure to end three years of fighting and renew long-stalled talks.

On Friday, Maariv newspaper quoted unidentified officials as saying that Sharon would annex West Bank territories -- such as the large settlement blocs of Gush Etzion or Maale Adumim -- while dismantling some Gaza Strip settlements.

About 50,000 Israelis live in Gush Etzion and Maale Adumim -- two of the largest Jewish settlement areas near Jerusalem.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath told the Associated Press that ''we will not accept annexing one centimeter of our land. We will not accept giving something in return for nothing.'' (full story)
Oh that Ariel Sharon is such a diplomatic charmer.


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