New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) praised Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his decision to leave the Sharon government in order to make clear his opposition to the Gaza withdrawal/expulsion plan. Netanyahu proclaimed this misguided Plan “will strengthen the forces of terror…will allow the Palestinians to open a sea port that will be open to terror boats…will bring rockets to Judea and Samaria…endanger the security of Israel, divide the Nation…and will create an Islamic terror base…and is against that mandate received from our voters.”
In his press conference, Netanyahu criticized the Bush/Condoleezza Rice demand for Israel to give guns and ammunition to Palestinian Authority saying, “we are once again talking about giving them guns, it is unbelievable…the Plan strengthens Hamas and it leads them to eventually reach Jerusalem.”
Plan Endangers West
Netanyahu also said in a Jerusalem Post interview that “this Gaza Plan is a danger not only for Israel but for the western world in general. This isn’t just our problem…It’s the West’s problem as well because forces that are controlled, deployed and cooperate with Iran — and today Hezbullah and Hamas are controlled in a significant way by Iran — will receive an additional base of operations not only in close proximity to Israel’s cities but also on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea not far from Europe.
“…The implementation of the plan would cause a deterioration in the security of the communities in the western Negev…
“…The relinquishment of Israeli security control over the international passages to Gaza will ‘create a highway for the transfer of terrorists and terror material’ to the area.
“…I thought that the decision to stop vehicles in distant cities [ahead of the protest in Netivot and Kfar Maimon] was strange, even bizarre. I am not aware of even one instance where in any democracy forces were used to prevent people from gathering for a protest located far away from where they were blocked…
“Israel must build in the settlements in Judea and Samaria to enable natural growth.
“…it was always agreed even in our worst disputes that construction for natural growth was permissible. Because of this it is wrong, even in the framework of diplomatic understandings, to accept a cessation of building for a growing population. After all, people get married. They have children.”
“…We allocated NIS 300 million in order to protect communities in the western Negev. The very fact of the allocation in the wake of the withdrawal shows that there is a realistic possibility that there will be a deterioration in the security situation because after all, we did not need to protect these communities beforehand….Will Israel’s security situation be improved or harmed by the withdrawal…In my view, the situation will get worse.
“…Not only is Hamas getting stronger in front of our very eyes, and not only are they openly announcing that they will move their missiles from Gaza to Judea and Samaria in order to rain them onto the suburbs of Tel Aviv. There exists an additional problem of outside terrorists and deadly weapons far worse than what we have seen so far that are liable to stream in from the Sinai to Gaza the minute we abandon our control fo the boundaries of the Strip.
“Tuesday we heard al-Qaida’s announcement that they are opening an al-Qaida Gaza branch.
“…Everyone remembers the Karine A [the weapons ship the Palestinian Authority purchased from Iran…] …If that ship had managed to penetrate, it would have brought in arms that could have easily threatened Ashkelon and Ashdod. Now there will be a Karine A, Karine B, Karine C and adjacent to the coast of the State of Israel.
“…I do not believe that there is a country in the entire world that would evacuate, en masse, territory in close proximity to its cities and suburbs when faced with the possibility and the danger of terrorist forces entering.
In his resignation letter he said, “…I told you that I oppose unilateral withdrawal without anything in return, that in my estimation will strengthen the forces of terror. …I asked for the inclusion of the settlement blocs within the security fence before the beginning of the withdrawal…and the holding of the Philadelphia Corridor in our hands…
“…the security fence has not been completed around the settlement blocs, the Philadelphia Corridor will be handed over to the Palestinians,…worse than that, we will allow the Palestinians to open a sea port that will be open to the terror boats.
“To my disappointment, the Government ignores reality….terror elements proclaim that they will move the rockets that drove us out of the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria,…from there will operate them until ‘the complete liberation of Palestine.’
“…I unfortunately am convinced today that the current move will bring in the course of time an increase in terror rather than a decrease….security officials also confirm that in the wake of the unilateral withdrawal they expect an increase in terror in the mid-run.
“…it is becoming increasingly clear that the unilateral withdrawal…will endanger the security of Israel, divide the Nation, and sets the principle of withdrawal to the ’67 lines that are no defendable.
“This is not the way to achieve peace.
“…what are we receiving in return for the withdrawal? What are we receiving for uprooting families with their children, their homes, their graves! We will receive an Islamic terror base.
“…The international community understands more and more that it is impossible to fight terror by running away from it, because the accumulating experience shows that the terror only strengthens and pursues us. And yet Israel,…goes in the completely opposite direction.
“… This Government carries out automatically policies that oppose…the mandate that we received from our voters.
” I am not prepared to be a partner to a step that ignores reality and blindly advances the establishment of an Islamic terror base that will threaten the State. I am not prepared to be a partner to an irresponsible move that endanger the security of Israel, divides the Nation, sets the principle of withdrawal to the ’67 lines, and in the future even endangers the unity of Jerusalem.
“Therefore I advise today of my resignation from the Government.”
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is gratified that Minister and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is using precisely the same argument that ZOA has been giving for the last year in opposition to this Plan. Netanyahu joins a long list of distinguished political leaders military and intelligence leaders and even left-wing leaders who believe that this Plan will cause more bloodshed and prolong the conflict.
“These leaders include Minister Natan Sharansky; MK and former Head of Foreign Affairs Committee Uzi Landau; outgoing Chief of the IDF Moshe Ya’alon; former Chief of Military Intelligence, Gen. Shlomo Gazit; former Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence, Gen. Yaacov Amidror; former Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs Moshe Arens; former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami; outgoing Chief of Shin Bet Avi Dichter; speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin; former General Security Service Chief Ami Ayalon; former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, Gen. Uzi Dayan; former Mossad heads Ephraim HaLevy and Shabtai Shavit, and many, many more.
We hope that the Israeli government will heed these warnings and consider postponing the implementation of this Plan to allow for a fuller discussion and analysis of the issues involved.”