NEW YORK- Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom has joined the growing list of prominent Israelis who are opposed to a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.
Shalom expressed his views in a meeting of American Jewish leaders in New York City on March 24, 2004.
The Jerusalem Post reported on March 28, 2004 that in an internal Likud newsletter, Shalom said: I think that not only will unilateral steps not decrease our conflict and dispute with the Palestinians, they could potentially enhance them.
In a related development, Israel Radio reported on Feb.17, 2004, that senior Israeli Army officials are urging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he should make an Israeli retreat from Gaza conditional on the Palestinians not being able to operate a sea port or airport from Gaza. If the Palestinians are able to operate a sea port or airport from the Gaza Strip after the Israeli retreat, the Palestinians would be able to import weapons that would threaten Israels security, they are warning.
Major-General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on February 10 that a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza will be seen as surrender to terrorism and might motivate further terrorism. (Maariv, Feb. 10, 2004)
Shlomo Gazit, former chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, recently wrote: Our exit from Gaza will transform it into a big armed camp into which weapons of all kinds will stream via land, sea and maybe even air. It will also become an arsenal for independent development and production of arms. Moreover, this capitulation will be rightly viewed as an unambivalent victory for the Palestinian armed struggle. (Maariv, Feb. 9, 2004)