Palestinian leaders dismiss Barak's proposal for partial withdrawal
Published yesterday (updated) 24/09/2012 22:25
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian leaders on Monday dismissed a proposal by
Israel's defense minister suggesting a partial withdrawal from the occupied
Ehud Barak told the newspaper Israel Hayom that in the absence of peace
talks, smaller illegal settlements in the West Bank should be evacuated,
with the major settlement blocs remaining under Israeli control.
Barak's proposal was swiftly shot down by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan
Meridor, who said the army will remain in the West Bank until a peace
agreement is reached.
PLO executive committee member Wasel Abu Yousef said Barak had regurgitated
an old plan proposed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and that
the proposal would be rejected by the Palestinian people and their leaders.
"It seems as if they're talking about a temporary state based on small
separated areas whose valleys are controlled by Israel … they are avoiding
talking about Jerusalem and the wall which is confiscating Palestinian lands
and giving legitimacy to settlements," Abu Yousef told Ma'an.
The timing of the plan shows Israel is trying to avoid accountability for
shutting off all other political horizons and to damage the PLO's efforts to
upgrade Palestine's status at the UN, Abu Yousef said.
The Israeli government realizes that the Palestinian bid to be accepted as a
non-member state by the UN General Assembly is serious, and that the PLO has
the full support of the non-aligned movement and Arab, European and African
states, he added.
Secretary-General of the Palestinian People's Party Bassam al-Salhi said
Barak's proposal was a continuation of Israel's expansionist project,
started in 1948, which aimed to destroy the possibility of a Palestinian
Palestinians insist on an end to Israel's withdrawal from all land occupied
in 1967, al-Salhi told Ma'an.
"This plan doesn't change the reality of the Israeli occupation, which is
trying to enhance its power and improve its image in the world and burden
Palestinians with more issues," he added.