Palestinians warn settlement expansion endangers peace process

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 | 
The Palestinians are furious over an Israeli plan to build 3,500 housing units connecting the biggest settlement in Judea and Samaria to Jerusalem. “The choice at the end of the day is between settlements or peace,” said Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, who called on President Bush to save the peace process. But Prime Minister Sharon doubts that Israel and the Palestinians can resolve the thorny issues of Jerusalem, settlements and final borders in the foreseeable future. So in the absence of peace, Sharon wants defensible borders--and he's drawing them unilaterally. Sharon's strategy is to get rid of Gaza, while cementing Israel's grip on Jerusalem and the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

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