Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is backing away from a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and wants to involve the Palestinian leadership. "I call upon the leaders of the Palestinian Authority [PA] to meet the challenge and coordinate the disengagement with us," Sharon told AIPAC, (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington. "The successful coordination of the disengagement plan will allow us to embark on a new era of trust and build our relations with the Palestinian Authority." Sharon, playing the "moderate" before an American audience, said he’ll ask the Cabinet to approve the release of 400 more Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to strengthen Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
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