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Sunday, August 7, 2005
Text: Netanyahu's Resignation Letter

Text: Netanyahu's Resignation Letter

[Unofficial translation by IMRA]

7 August 2005

Mr. Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister
Jerusalem

Sir;

From the first conversation when you presented your plan to me, I told you
that I oppose unilateral withdrawal without anything in return, that in my
estimation will strengthen the forces of terror. As a minimum I asked for
the inclusion of the settlement blocs within the security fence before the
beginning of the withdrawal and the holding of the Philadephi Corridor in
our hands. In this way we would be neutralizing the impression that we are
running away from terror and instead shows that we are choosing a new
defense line in accordance with out national interests. In addition, we set
that after then the Government would be able to consider if to decide on the
evacuation in light of the reality developing in the area.

To my sorrow, the security fence has not been completed around the
settlement blocs, the Philadelphi Corridor will be handed over to the
Palestinians, and worse than that, we will allow the Palestinians to open a
sea port that will be open to the terror boats.

To my disappointment, the Government ignores reality. As I warned, the
Hamas is strengthening, the terror continues, the firing of rockets and
mortars on our communities has not ended, and terror elements proclaim that
they will move the rockets that drove us out of the Gaza Strip to Judea and
Samaria, and from there will operate them until "the complete liberation of
Palestine."

I do not know when the terror will break out in full force. It is possible
that it will take a month or two or a year or two. It is possible that the
terror will first break out in Judea and Samaria. I hope that it won't
break out at all. But just as I warned in 1993 that the Oslo Agreement will
bring attacks from Judea and Samaria and rockets from Gaza, so I
unfortunately am convinced today that the current move will bring in the
course of time to an increase in terror rather than a decrease. As you know
full well, security officials also confirm that in the wake of the
unilateral withdrawal they expect an increase in terror in the mid-run.

In summary: it is becoming increasingly clear that the unilateral withdrawal
under fire doesn't give us anything. The opposite; it endanger the security
of Israel, divide the Nation, and sets the principle of withdrawal to the
'67
lines that are no defendable.

This is not the way to achieve peace.

I always thought that the withdrawal from Gaza is possible in an agreement
or for a reasonable consideration. That is not the case now. Therefore,
what are we receiving in return for the withdrawal? What are we receiving
for uprooting families with their children, their homes, their graves! We
will receive an Islamic terror base.

After the terror attacks in New York, Washington, London and Sinai, the
world begins to understand that it is necessary to fight terror and not make
compromises. The international community understands more and more that it
is impossible to fight terror by running away from it, because the
accumulating experience shows that the terror only strengthens and pursues
us. And yet Israel, which showed the world the way to fight terror, now,
goes in the completely opposite direction.

In recent months I hoped that the Government would open its eyes against
this clear reality and change direction. But the opposite happened. A
balanced Government that reflected the will of the People in the last
elections has turned into a Government that carries out automatically
policies that oppose the principles of the Likud and the mandate that we
received from our voters.

Mister Prime Minister, you could have kept a balanced National Government.
You could have prevented the splitting of the Nation. Over the course of
months I asked for a national referendum that would maintain unity in the
Government and the Nation. To my sorrow, you chose to oppose it, as before
you chose to ignore the referendum of the Likud members that you initiated
and whose results you promised to honor. Now, in these hard days before us,
the need for reserve, control and responsibility from all parts of the
Nation and the Government is greater than ever.

All this time I remained in the Government despite my growing opposition to
the withdrawal given the developments. I did this as an attempt to minimize
the dangers and damages resulting from the unilateral withdrawal. An
attempt that to my sorrow has been exhausted. And I did it out of
responsibility to my position as minister of the treasury. We are in the
middle of carrying out a revolution of reforms and privatizations
unprecedented in the market, which will strengthen the State of Israel and
its economy. These days I completed the two last reforms, in banks and
reducing taxes, and I prepared a responsible State budget that I developed
in complete coordination with you.

When I entered my position two and a half years ago, the Israeli economy was
on the edge of collapse. Today this economy is healthy, growing and
vibrant. If the economic policies that I led are not changed, the growth
will continue and reach all parts of the Nation.

Today we reached the moment of truth. There is a way to reach peace and
security. Unilateral withdrawal under fire without compensation is not the
way. I am not prepared to be a partner to a step that ignores reality and
blindly advances the establishment of an Islamic terror base that will
threaten the State. I am not prepared to be a partner to an irresponsible
move that endanger the security of Israel, divides the Nation, sets the
principle of withdrawal to the '67 lines, and in the future even endangers
the unity of Jerusalem.

Therefore I advise today of my resignation from the Government.

Best regards,
Binyamin Netanyahu

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