Sharon: Israel to take ''unilateral steps'' for redeployment in occupied territories
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the cabinet on Sunday that he will be taking "unilateral steps" regarding plans for Israeli redeployment in the territories, but has not yet decided what steps to take.
The plan is due to include moves to ease daily life in Israel, without compromising "security". The Israeli leader has also indicated that the plan will include the evacuation of settlements.
Israel’s Channel 2 television said Friday that Sharon plans to remove some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the summer of 2004 to make way for a Palestinian state.
Once a decision is made, Sharon said, he will bring the plan to the cabinet for approval. In any case, he added, he is not deserting the so called "road map".
Sharon also told his ministers during the meeting that he did not rule out a renewed discussion on the route of a West Bank "security fence" between Israeli and Palestinian territories.
Sharon's comments followed a call by the Justice Minister to decide on a new route for the fence, one which can be completed quicker and at a lower cost.
Palestinian officials Saturday underestimated the recent Israeli Prime Minister statements regarding the dismantling of Jewish settlements, saying these statements were misleading and intended at pre-empting current political developments.
Saeb Ereqat, the Minister of Negotiations Affairs, was quoted as saying “such statements by Sharon are merely public relations moves as moving forward requires actual implementation of the Road Map peace plan.”
In the meantime, Sharon has appointed a team of senior
ministers to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians.
Sharon and the ministers decided that talks with Palestinians will be based on the "road map" and that Israel will concurrently examine a series of steps to advance the process, including providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, transferring cities and towns to Palestinian security control and possibly taking unilateral
steps, Army Radio reported.
Additionally, Sharon and the ministers reviewed the Premier's planned meeting with newly elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, also known as Abu Ala. (Albawaba.com)
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