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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

With Arafat Dead, Pullout Can No Longer Be Justified

Analysis: Without Arafat, it grows harder to justify pullout.

The claim that "there is no partner," which has formed the basis of Israeli foreign policy over the past four years and justified the refusal to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, would depart together with him.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan would lose the central justification for its existence - the lack of a Palestinian partner.

Only one day after the Knesset approved the disengagement plan and the dramatic schism took place in the Likud leadership, all the circumstances appear to be suddenly changing.

One can already hear Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom navigating a compromise proposal: postponing disengagement until a new and stable Palestinian leadership is formed that would take over the Gaza Strip by agreement.

Shalom supported the "disengagement with a partner" from the beginning, and now it can be used to bring Benjamin Netanyahu, Limor Livnat and their supporters back to their chairs and to calm down the rebellion in the party.
While I see a glimmer of hope that this could delay the unilateral ethnic cleansing plan, so-called Arab "moderates" like Abu Mazen are more dangerous than Arafat.

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