Olmert to ‘Post’: Disengagement should take only two weeks

By David Horovitz July 10, 2005

Though disengagement is ‘a major undertaking for Israel’ and a ‘very painful’ one, it will likely take no longer than two weeks to carry out from start to finish, Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said over the weekend.

‘I think it will take no more than two weeks. I think that it shouldn’t take more than two weeks,’ he said.

Israel was not sealing off the Gaza Strip prematurely, he said, precisely so that it would not involve itself in ‘confrontations and battle’ with opponents of disengagement that would last two months. The intention, rather, was to ‘focus on the short period starting on the 17th [of August] and carry out [disengagement] as fast as possible.’

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Olmert also reiterated Israel’s demand to the Palestinian Authority to stamp out Hamas and other terrorist groups, and noted that, although there could be no direct comparisons, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had acted speedily to dismantle the ‘many different military organizations that were not part of the national discipline.’

Asked if he was referring to the Altalena affair, when the nascent Israeli army was ordered to open fire on a ship carrying arms for Menachem Begin’s Irgun Zvai Leumi in June 1948, with the killing of 14 IZL members, some of whom were Holocaust survivors, Olmert said he was ‘talking about everything’ Ben-Gurion was doing at the time.

He said some of this was violent, sad, painful, ‘can’t be forgotten and in some ways can’t even be forgiven.’
Olmert said he did not require that Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas ‘follow the patterns of the State of Israel. He should do it in his own way.’

But the terror groups were not only enemies of Israel, Olmert said. They were ‘enemies of the chance for the Palestinians to establish a credible, acceptable and respected democratic government. The world will not tolerate a government which depends on terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the Hizbullah.’

Commenting on the repercussions of Thursday’s terror attacks in London, Olmert said they would require the British to ‘rapidly change their attitude to the requirements of dealing with the day-to-day threat’ of terrorism.

Plainly, he said, there was insufficient awareness in the UK of the necessary security measures and intelligence to thwart terror. The blasts, he said, also highlighted the imperative for tighter international cooperation.

Speaking more generally of Europe, Olmert added that the fact that the Europeans had ‘tacitly’ conducted ‘some kind of preliminary talks with Hamas’ was evidence that they didn’t recognize ‘that you can’t fool around with terrorist groups.’

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