Sharon says Israel ready to free 400 Palestinian captives
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday that the "disengagement plan" could signal a "new era of trust" with the Palestinians should Israel be able to coordinate it. Speaking at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington D.C., the Israeli leader said that the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank would not be easy, but that he remains confident that Israel will emerge stronger.
"We are willing to help (Palestinian Authority) Chairman Abbas as much as we can," Sharon said, "as long as we do not breach our security. That is our red line."
He also outlined plans to release a further 400 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails. "Upon my return to Israel I will present to my government approval for the release of an additional 400," he said.