The Bush administration fears "Islamic extremists" might seize control of the Gaza Strip after Israel's planned withdrawal. According to the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper, in a recent message, US officials have asked Israel to try establish contacts with "any Palestinian empowered to take responsibility" for the areas to be evacuated, to try to prevent a takeover by "Islamic fundamentalists."
The Bush administration supports Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan, but some US officials have voiced reservations about a unilateral pullout that does not involve an orderly transfer of security responsibility to Palestinians on the ground.
"If extremists take control of the area evacuated by Israel in the first stage, this will be regarded as an Israeli failure that will further damage America's standing in the region," the report quoted US officials as saying. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )