West Bank withdrawal despite Gaza terror

Monday, July 10, 2006 |  by Nicole Jansezian
JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that despite the constant terror that has plagued Israel since it pulled out of Gaza last August, he would press on with his “realignment” plan of evacuating Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria and creating a Palestinian state.

“This concept of ‘realignment’ is a concept of separating the Israelis from the Palestinians,” Olmert told foreign reporters Monday morning. “I’m absolutely determined to carry on to ultimately separate from the Palestinians.”

Despite the obvious failure of the Gaza withdrawal to bring about peace in that region, Olmert said further separation is “the only solution.”

“I can’t say that the growing violence and the rise of Hamas has made things easier,” he conceded, but the government plans to carry out the withdrawal nonetheless.

Israeli military action in Gaza, which began two weeks ago after terrorists killed three soldiers and abducted another at an Israeli military outpost near southern Gaza, will continue until two objectives are met, Olmert said: The return of kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit to Israel and the cessation of Palestinians rockets from Gaza.

Shalit is believed to be alive and still in Gaza. Olmert said he refuses to negotiate with the “terrorist bloody organization” Hamas for the soldier.

Olmert faced a barrage of questions from the foreign press about Israel’s decision to enter Gaza, blow up the electric plant and fly warplanes overhead.

“Do you think your country would’ve supplied electricity to a country that is shooting 1,000 missiles at Great Britain just for the generosity of more missiles?” Olmert responded to a British reporter who questioned Israel’s decision to bomb an electric plant in Gaza. Israel supplies electricity to the Palestinian Authority.

Olmert and his government are under fire from Israelis as well for not responding sooner to the 1,000 rockets that have been launched by Palestinians at southern Israeli towns in the past 10 months.

“(Israelis say) we haven’t taken enough measures in order to stop it,” he said.

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