Government is failing to explain disengagement, Ami Ayalon says

By David Horovitz June 28, 2005

Ami Ayalon, the former chief of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), who now heads the People’s Voice campaign for Israeli-Palestinian peace, criticized the Sharon government on Monday for holding ‘humiliating’ discussions with the settlers over disengagement. Rather than openly discussing the fundamental imperatives behind the pullout, which, he said, was to keep Israel Jewish and democratic, ‘we are asking them how to uproot them and how much money to give them.’

Speaking at the American Colony Hotel in east Jerusalem, Ayalon said that the government had to openly discuss why it was taking Israel in this direction, including how disengagement ensures that Israel remains a ‘safe haven’ for Jews. The more people understood the true motivation behind disengagement, he said, the more support there would be for it.

Speaking at a joint, good-natured media event alongside the Palestinian Authority’s National Security Advisor Jibril Rajoub, Ayalon also castigated PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for negotiating what he called a ‘surrender’ agreement with Palestinian extremist groups in Egypt earlier this year. Ayalon said that even Yasser Arafat had never conditioned a permanent accord with Israel on the ‘return’ of Palestinian refugees to Israel in the specific terms set out in Abbas’s deal with the extremists. This position on the refugee issue, he said, had potentially pushed back the peace effort ’15 or 20 years.’

Rajoub, for his part, spoke of the PA’s commitment to ensure that Israel’s pullout from Gaza proceeded smoothly this summer. He said the PA saw this as a Palestinian ‘national interest.’

Beyond that, however, he said that eagerness for peace on the Palestinian side would depend on an end to ‘Israel’s occupation’ and a pullback by Israel to the 1967 border.

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