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Breaking Sharon WB Pull-out 2008 Secret EU Report & Rafah Border Open

by Oui Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 04:00:35 PM EST

Update [2005-11-25 12:50PM PST by Oui]  
Title Adjusted To Breaking News ::

BREAKING NEWS ::
Sharon Readies Plan for Total West Bank Pullout by '08

TEL AVIV Breaking News Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has drafted a plan for Israel's withdrawal from virtually all of the West Bank by 2008. See comment in diary ...

Gaza Link to Egypt - Rafah Crossing Point Opened Today

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Palestinians formally opened a border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt that will allow Gazans to travel abroad freely for the first time since Israel occupied the coastal territory in 1967.

"I think every Palestinian now has his passport ready in his pocket. Let them come to cross at this terminal whenever they want," said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, helps Egyptian Intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, center left, to cut a ribbon during a ceremony marking the opening of the the Rafah border crossing terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Center right is European Union representative, Marc Otte.  AP Photo/Suhaib Salem, Pool

Cross-border movement will be supervised by European Union monitors as part of a U.S.-brokered deal after Israel's Gaza pullout in September. Israel, citing security concerns, will keep on eye on traffic through a video link set up as part of the agreement. The Rafah deployment marks the EU's first monitoring role in the Palestinian territories.

Secret EU report launches scathing attack on Israel

The EU foreign ministers' meeting was widely reported in Israel to have decided against publication of the report in its present form because of the risk to its relationship with the Jewish state especially when for the first time Israel has given its blessing to the EU having a key security role in the region by monitoring the Rafah crossing point from Gaza into Egypt. The EU will be represented at senior level at a ceremonial opening of the crossing by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today.

The 11-page report, leaked to The Independent, says the E1 project for a major expansion of Ma'ale Adumim, the largest Israeli West Bank settlement, to join it to Jerusalem "threatens to complete the encircling of the city by Jewish settlements, dividing the West Bank into two separate geographical areas." It says that, while the present 30,000 residents of the settlement at present occupy only 15 per cent of the planned area, the total plan envisages an area of 53 square miles - "larger than Tel Aviv" - extending through the West Bank between Jerusalem and Jericho.

Cross the fold »»


"Greater" Jerusalem Absorbs West Bank Area
Special Report: A Jerusalem Primer | Vol. SR No. 1 | February 1994

The term "Greater Jerusalem" has entered the lexicon of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United States acknowledged this when, for the first time, the State Department, in an April 1993 report to Congress, noted that "the [Rabin] Government also has affirmed its intention to continue settlement construction in a 100-square mile surrounding area termed 'Greater Jerusalem.'"

The increasing use of this expression by Israelis, who originated it more than a decade ago, is a testament to the nation's continuing effort to expand Israel's permanent borders well into the West Bank.

Secret EU report (continued) ...

While the plans will divide the West Bank from itself and from East Jerusalem, the report says "the economic prospects of the West Bank [which has a GDP per year per head of $1,000] are highly dependent on access to East Jerusalem [GDP of $3,500]. It adds: "From an economic perspective, the viability of a Palestinian state depends to a great extent on the preservation of organic links between East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem".

European governments should consider direct intervention in an attempt to curb the systematic measures being undertaken by Israel to increase its control and population in the historically - and legally - Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem, a highly sensitive EU report concludes.

The confidential report, prepared by top diplomats representing the 25 EU governments in the city, warns that the chances of a two-state solution are being eroded by Israel's "deliberate policy" - in breach of international of law - of "completing the annexation of East Jerusalem".

European Foreign Ministers this week vetoed planned publication of the report - which also warns that rapid expansion of Jewish settlements in and around East Jerusalem, along with use of the separation barrier to isolate East Jerusalem from the West Bank, "risk radicalising the hitherto relatively quiescent Palestinian population of East Jerusalem".

The report provides the most detailed and remorselessly critical account yet produced by a Western international body of Israel's policy in East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since its seizure in the 1967 Six Day War. It points out that Jerusalem "is already one of the trickiest issues" on the road to a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. It adds that, as a result of the measures, "prospects for a two state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine are receding".

Among the recommendations in the report, drafted in October during the British EU presidency which ends next month, the EU is urged to consider a series of steps including direct support for projects that help Palestinians to conduct legal battles against house demolitions, which it points out tripled in the city during 2004, and the persistent refusal to grant building permits to all but a small minority of Palestinians.


IDF soldiers facing rioting Palestinians
in East Jerusalem earlier this month.
Reuters

The report also suggests holding meetings with the Palestinian leadership in East Jerusalem, presumably to demonstrate that - contrary to the Israeli government's goal of Jerusalem as its "undivided capital" - it sees East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.

EU: Israel's E. Jerusalem policy endangers final-status talks

TEL AVIV Haaretz Nov. 25 -- The European Union's diplomatic representatives have sharply criticized Israel's policies in East Jerusalem, saying it is using settlements and the West Bank separation fence to create a "de facto annexation of Palestinian land". The unpublished report warns that the Israeli measures "are reducing the possibility of reaching a final-status agreement on Jerusalem that any Palestinian could accept," The New York Times reported.

According to the Times, the report recommends that European officials take a more aggressive stance toward Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, such as holding political meetings with Palestinian ministers in East Jerusalem instead of the West Bank and asking Israel to "halt discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially concerning working permits, building permits, house demolitions, taxation and expenditure."

"This de facto annexation of Palestinian land will be irreversible without very large-scale forced evacuations of settlers and the re-routing of the barrier," the document said.

The spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, Mark Regev, told The Guardian: "Israel believes that Jerusalem should remain the united capital of Israel. At the same time, Israel has committed itself that Jerusalem is one of those final-status issues."

PEACE MOVEMENT RELATED READING

Yitzhak Rabin Memorial in Tel Aviv 10th Anniversary of his Assassination
Sat Nov 12th, 2005 at 11:52:12 AM PST

Israel Democracy Day Keep A Date June 17
Wed Jun 15th, 2005 at 02:24:22 AM PST

IDEALS -- Rachel Corrie in London Play
Thu Apr 21st, 2005 at 10:14:52 PM PST

Display:
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As Agreed in the White House - 2002

    Although partly theoretical, Mr Arad's formulation will also be seen as being in tune with continued expansion of settlements and the routing of sections of the separation barrier inside the occupied West Bank, ahead of any negotiations with the Palestinians.

BREAKING NEWS
Sharon Readies Plan for Total West Bank Pullout by '08

TEL AVIV Breaking News -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has drafted a plan for Israel's withdrawal from virtually all of the West Bank by 2008.

Political sources said Sharon has begun briefing senior U.S. officials of his intention to withdraw unilaterally from more than 95 percent of the West Bank. They said Sharon, who quit the ruling Likud Party on Nov. 21, would seek a U.S. and international security presence in the area as well as a commitment for the dismantling of Palestinian insurgency groups.

Haim Ramon, a Cabinet minister who joined Sharon's new party, said the prime minister plans to withdraw unilaterally to what would constitute Israel's final borders, Middle East Newsline reported. Ramon said Sharon does not plan to discuss this before the parliamentary elections, scheduled for March 28.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 04:04:38 PM EST
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Palestinians Take Over Border Crossing

The inauguration of the crossing, attended by scores of local and international dignitaries, was hailed as the beginning of a new era for Palestinians and especially the people of the Gaza Strip, badly demoralized after five years of bloody fighting with Israel.

  «« click on pic to enlarge Gaza Map

Best illustrated by Fathia Najar, 55, one of a group of Palestinian travelers waiting to cross the border when the terminal starts operations Saturday:

    "From this moment, we feel that we are free. Before this, we lived in a jail."

The opening of the border -- under an agreement with Israel -- bolstered Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' message that independence can only be won through negotiations and gave him a boost ahead of Jan. 25 parliamentary polls fiercely contested by the Islamic Hamas group.

Officials were almost giddy with optimism as they addressed 1,200 guests at the ceremony in a large tent outside the terminal. "This is a great day. It is a day of happiness ... because it means an enormous step forward toward the freedom of the Palestinian people," said Marc Otte, the European Union's representative, in the Middle East.

Abbas said he hoped the Palestinians' new gate to the world will spur investment but added that no economic recovery can take place without an end to rampant lawlessness in the Palestinian territories. "The magic key that can give us everything is the key of security," he said.

West Bank and Gaza Maps

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 04:06:44 PM EST
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How Will EU Formulate Foreign Policy?

The Grand Coalition agreement will bind Chancellor Merkel to policies of her administration. Merkel has stated in last months, she wants a strong EU with more focus on all countries, not just the alliances with Germany or the U.K. Her position will strengthen the cohesion within the EU, as Schröder, Chirac and Blair tried to push through their major issues without much concern in creating a consensus within the EU.

Much harm was done by neglecting economic reform in Germany and France and having their budget deficit above 3% limit.

Merkel will look for ideological alliances, CDU/CSU is for a strong Atlantic alliance with the U.S., although her stance on Turkey will oppose the position of Blair and Bush. A close economic and ideological ally is the Netherlands, with the Christian Democrats Jan Peter Balkenende leading the cabinet with the VVD right-wing Liberal Conservative party. It wasn't by accident for FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier to make his first visit with colleague Dutch FM Bernhard Bot on Thursday.

BTW, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was previously Christian Democrat leader in Dutch parliament and FM during cabinets Balkenende I and II. His tenure as chairman of the OSCE in 2003 was very successful and in fact was a solicitation for the job of NATO Secretary General.

Cross-posted from my diary ::
I'm A Fan of Jan Peter! (Balkenende)

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 04:14:47 PM EST
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Histadrut Labor Chairman Amir Peretz Wins Labor Leadership Race
By Yair Ettinger, Mazal Mualem and Daniel Ben-Simon

TEL AVIV Nov. 10, 2005 -- In an unexpected result, Histadrut labor federation Chairman Amir Peretz was named the new chairman of the Labor Party, defeating the incumbent and favorite, Vice Premier Shimon Peres,

The new Labor chief quickly reiterated his intention of pulling the party out of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government, propelling the country into political disarray and advancing the likelihood of early general elections.

"We will notify the prime minister that we want to leave. We want to leave... certainly out of a desire to turn the Labor Party into an alternative that intends to take power in the next elections," he said.

  «« click on pic for Histadrut labor leader
Amir Peretz celebrating his victory in the
Labor leadership race in Tel Aviv early today.

Haaretz - Guy Raivitz

"Amir will discuss with the prime minister an agreed date for an election," said Yuli Tamir, a Labor legislator and Peretz supporter.

RELATED COVERAGE ::
It's for real in Isreal-rael ◊ by kcurie

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Sat Nov 26th, 2005 at 01:13:46 PM EST
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Sharon's Kadima Leads All Parties in Israel

TEL AVIV (Angus Reid Global Scan) Nov. 26 -- The Kadima party formed earlier this month by Ariel Sharon would head the government after Israel's next legislative election, according to three recent voting intention polls. The results of a survey by Teleseker published in Maariv suggest that Kadima would secure 34 seats in the Israeli Parliament, followed by the Labour party with 26, and the Likud party with 13.

A poll by the Dahaf Institute published in Yediot Ahronot gives Kadima 33 seats in the Knesset, with Labour in second place with 26, and Likud in third place with 13.

A survey by Smith Researching and Consulting published in the Jerusalem Post puts Kadima ahead with 32 seats.

Polling Report - 2006 Knesset Election

'Big bang' Could Redefine Israel Politics

JERUSALEM (Israeli Insider) Aug. 12, 2005 -- "Big bang" is the latest buzzword in Israel, and it's even overshadowing preparations for next week's emotionally charged Gaza pullout.

The scenario, supported by polls, goes like this: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is forced out of his hawkish Likud by rival Benjamin Netanyahu after the Gaza pullout. Sharon splits the party, seeks moderate allies, and wins early elections. Israel is for the first time governed by a strong centrist party with a modest peace agenda, ending decades of straightforward struggle between a right wing, that wanted to keep occupied land and a left wing eager to get rid of it.

It's more than speculation


Ex-finance minister MK
Benjamin Netanyahu
 (AP)

Polls this week indicated that Sharon could easily be ousted as Likud leader by Netanyahu, who abruptly resigned as finance minister this week, a protest against Gaza pullout.

Sharon, a former champion of the settlers whose decision to pull out of Gaza stunned many, is now quite popular with the public at large. But the party primary would be decided by some 150,000 registered Likud members, many of them committed hawkish ideologues outraged at Sharon for ignoring their opposition to the Gaza pullout.

[The Likud members voted to support Likud founder Ariel Sharon - Oui]

Peres mulls joining Sharon

Vice Premier Shimon Peres meanwhile confirmed reports that he was approached by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new party, and said that he would decide whether to join Kadima in the coming days. Peres told Israel Radio:

    "The only thing before my eyes is the country's interest, and chances to bring about peace. There are no personal considerations in my decision."


Shimon Peres: Vance Lecturer  

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Sat Nov 26th, 2005 at 02:46:27 PM EST
Yes a comment to tell you that I am reading everything. There are some hisotries which are not in the israeli press...

So I just wanted to tell you... just great!!!! Thanks...Recommend was not enough..

And , beside, you could answer me a questio. What are the sources of the news about the secret plan for withdrawal in 2008?

There is no news about it anywhere.. nothing.. but I have long suspected that journalists in Haaretz are not saying everything they know...The impression is that there is some kind of general understanding, some framework for the next steps between Sharon and Abbas.. not a deal, but everybody knowing what they are supposed to do.

So I would like to know if you know something more about the source of your news regarding the new alleged withdrawal plan.
Thanks indeed.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Nov 26th, 2005 at 05:58:09 PM EST
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I will try to find a more precise source for Sharon's plan this Sunday. Besides the source linked in my diary I found a plea by Jordanian King Abdullah ::
Jordanian King calls Sharon to pullout from West Bank
Jordan-Israel, Politics, 9/17/2005

The Jordanian King Abdullah II demanded the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw from the West bank as the next step after the Gaza withdrawal. This was expressed during Abdullah's meeting with Sharon in New York on the sideline of the UN world summit.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Sat Nov 26th, 2005 at 06:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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Historical highlights ::

Father and son

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Mon Dec 19th, 2005 at 06:47:24 AM EST
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Exit poll gives Netanyahu (47%) lead over Shalom (32%).

Israel's Likud votes to elect leader

JERUSALEM (Reuters) Dec. 20 - Benjamin Netanyahu, a former prime minister who opposed Sharon's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, seen as more flexible on possible peacemaking with the Palestinians, are frontrunners in a field of four.

While opinion polls give an edge to Netanyahu, 56, much depends on voter turnout. Pollsters predict it will be low because of widespread party apathy following Sharon's departure from the party he helped found more than three decades ago.  

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Mon Dec 19th, 2005 at 04:29:11 PM EST
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AJC poll indicates that 70% of U.S. Jews oppose the war in Iraq
By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent

NEW YORK (Haaretz) Dec. 20 -- Approximately 70 percent of Jews in the United States oppose the war in Iraq, compared to 28 percent who support the war, according to a poll conducted by the American Jewish Committee. The poll indicates that 60 percent of U.S. Jews do not agree with the manner in which the U.S. government is conducting the war on terror.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Tue Dec 20th, 2005 at 05:31:59 PM EST


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