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Disengagement Opponents Launch Public Campaign

TEL AVIV — Likud opponents of Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement plan have launched a new campaign aimed at thwarting the initiative.

Under the slogan “The disengagement will bring terrorism — we need to rethink things,” members of Sharon’s own Likud Party kicked off their public campaign Monday. The campaign, said to be costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, comes in the wake of the failure of Likud opponents to undermine the disengagement plan in the parliamentary arena.

Likud opponents are hoping that the campaign will lead to a dramatic reversal in public opinion and bring the support for disengagement down to below the 50% mark. The thinking is that such a drop in support would convince Likud ministers and Knesset members to drop their support of the plan, thus forcing Sharon to suspend the scheduled removal of Jewish settlers from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank.

As part of the campaign, a booklet outlining the alleged security dangers posed by the plan will be distributed to 1.5 million households. The booklet will contain statements by high-ranking defense establishment officials on the dangers expected in the wake of the pullout, including comments by outgoing chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, who warned last week that the move will lead to a wave of terrorism.

“The State of Israel is ready to give the Palestinians an independent Palestinian state, but the Palestinians are not ready to give us an independent Jewish state,” Ya’alon said in a highly publicized interview in Ha’aretz. “Thus the situation here is not stable. That is why every agreement that will be made is the point of departure for the next development of irredentism. For the next conflict. The next war. Despite their military weakness, the Palestinians feel that they are making progress. They have a feeling of success. Whereas we are waging a battle of withdrawal and delay.”

Ya’alon said that if Israel fails to commit quickly to another pullout after leaving Gaza “there will be an eruption.”

“Terrorist attacks of all types: shooting, bombs, suicide bombers, mortars, Qassam rockets,” he said. “It stands to reason that in the initial stage they will have an interest in demonstrating quiet in the Gaza Strip. But if there is an eruption in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], Gaza will not remain quiet.”

Ya’alon argued that the creation of a Palestinian state would eventually bring about a war, because the Palestinians are not ready to accept Israel.

“It will be a state that will try to undermine Israel,” the outgoing chief of staff said. “As long as there is no internalization of our right to exist as a Jewish state, and as long as there is insistence on concrete elements of the right of return, any such agreement will be like the construction of a house in which you plant a bomb. At some stage, the bomb will explode.”




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