Sharon's View By Mike Rappaport
I have mentioned the views of Sharanksy and Netanyahu criticizing the disengagement. Here
is Sharon's defense of it today in Israel:
Sharon said that "Gaza cannot be held onto forever. Over one million Palestinians live there, and they double their numbers with every generation. They live in incredibly cramped refugee camps, in poverty and squalor, in hotbeds of ever-increasing hatred, with no hope whatsoever on the horizon."
Sharon said the plan was good for Israel's future. "We are reducing the day-to-day friction and its victims on both sides. The IDF will redeploy on defensive lines behind the Security Fence. Those who continue to fight us will meet the full force of the IDF and the security forces."
Repeating his oft-articulated argument that the disengagement plan has given Israel the diplomatic initiative, Sharon said that now the "burden of proof" was on the Palestinians.
"They must fight terror organizations, dismantle its infrastructure and show sincere intentions of peace in order to sit with us at the negotiating table," Sharon said. "The world awaits the Palestinian response – a hand offered in peace or continued terrorist fire. To a hand offered in peace, we will respond with an olive branch. But if they chose fire, we will respond with fire, more severe than ever."