Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Sharon to use pullout vote to neutralize criticism of fence
From a very good overview of the current Israeli political situation in Haaretz:
The cabinet is slated to approve two major decisions on Sunday: the evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, and the route of the separation fence around Gush Etzion and the South Hebron Hills. The two decisions are being brought at the same time in an effort to neutralize international criticism of the fence route by coupling it with the decision to evacuate settlements....The article, by Aluf Benn, Amos Harel, and Arnon Regular, also goes in depth with the proposed handing over of certain Palestinian cities to Palestinian control and other IDF upcoming plans including disengagement, coordinating with Palestinian security forces, and the arrival of U.S. security coordinator Lieutenant General William Ward.
The fence route, whose approval Sharon has repeatedly postponed due to its diplomatic sensitivity, is effectively a "package deal" meant to satisfy both hawks and doves: The fence will penetrate deeply into the West Bank to encompass the Gush Etzion settlements, but will follow the Green Line around the South Hebron Hills.