Another Argument For Gaza Retreat Crumbles, As French Refuse To Promise To Stop Pressure After Withdrawal
News Press Release
September 20, 2004

NEW YORK- While supporters of the Gaza retreat plan have claimed that an Israeli withdrawal will put a halt to international pressure against Israel for more concessions, French leaders have “laughed” at Israel’s expectation that they will stop their pressure.

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin told the Israeli newspaper Hatzofeh (Sept.15, 2004) that during his last visit to Europe, he met with a group of leaders of the French Parliament, who asked about his opposition to Prime Minister Sharon’s Gaza retreat proposal. He replied:

“Well, the truth is that I should ask you. He has been trying to convince me that the moment we disengage, Europe will give us at least 15 years of quiet and won’t put pressure on us [to make further concessions], and during this time we will be able to stabilize our control over areas on which we cannot compromise, such as the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem. So tell me: Will you in fact give us 15 years of quiet?’ They started to laugh and said that they now understand why I don’t support the Prime Minister. Later on, I asked them if they would give us 15 months of quiet. They laughed. I said, ‘How about 15 weeks?’ and they continued to laugh. ’15 hours?’ – and they still laughed. Regarding 15 minutes, they didn’t laugh, but neither did they nod…”

The ZOA points out that one by one, all of the arguments in favor of retreating from Gaza are crumbling:

* Retreat supporters claimed that most Israelis believe leaving Gaza will enhance Israel’s security. But a June 2004 poll by the Geocartography Group found 64% of Israelis do not believe that retreat will decrease the threat of missiles fired by terrorists at pre-1967 Israel; 61% of Israelis believe that retreat will “accelerate the flow of military supplies to Gaza”; and 59% do not believe that retreat will diminish the Arabs’ determination to attack Israel.

* Retreat supporters claimed the U.S. would accept Israeli retention of those parts of the territories that contain large Jewish populations, such as Ma’ale Adumim and the bloc of communities around it. But the Bush administration has continued to oppose and criticize Israeli construction within Ma’ale Adumim.

* Retreat supporters claimed that the cause of terrorism is the presence of Jews in Gaza — but even as Israel is preparing to withdraw from Gaza, the terrorists are carrying out rocket attacks on Sderot and other cities within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

* Retreat supporters claimed that if Israel withdraws, the Palestinian Authority will take action against the terrorists — but Yasir Arafat recently invited 5,000 of his Fatah Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorists to become part of the official PA security forces in Gaza — meaning that the “police” will be the terrorists themselves.

* Retreat supporters claimed that an Israeli withdrawal would be rewarded by the U.S. halting its pressure on Israel to limit the security fence — but the Bush administration is continuing to pressure and criticize Israel over the fence issue.

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