A senior Israeli government official met with the foreign media based in Jerusalem on Sunday evening to screen a computer graph which envisioned an evacuation timetable from the 21 Katif Jewish communities contiguous to Gaza and from 4 Jewish communities in Northern Samaria, following the June 6th 2004 Israel government ratification of the Sharon Plan, as laid out in www.pmo.gov.il.
The senior Israeli government official compared the graph to a military plan, set for implementation.
However, the Israeli government official explained that this plan can only be implemented if it gets the go-ahead from the Knesset which is needed by October 31 at the close of the Fall session of the Knesset, if the government is to evacuate Katif and Northern Samaria by September 2005.
The senior Israeli government official did announce that the government is now going to offer advance payment to any resident of Katif who would like to leave between now and October 31st.
Yet that same senior Israeli government official also noted that the Knesset has not allocated any funds for this purpose in the current budget.
Meanwhile, the senior Israeli government official praised the Egyptians for the role that they were playing in the process, as he described the promises that Egypt gave Israel to ensure that the Palestinian Authority will crack down on terrorism following an Israeli pullout. The senior government official avoided any comment about the Egyptian role in the facilitating the smuggling of arms into Israel. The senior Israeli government official avoided any comment on how Egypt has encouraged the Palestinian Authority to join forces with the Islamic terrorist organizations rather than to crush the Islamic terrorist organizations.
The senior Israeli government official went on to assert that there could be no peace and reconciliation without an end to Arafat as the head of the PA, yet went on to say that after hundreds of hours of negotiations with Arafat security chiefs Jibril Rajoub and Mohammad Dahlan had brought him to conclude that only if Israel would get rid of settlements would Israel be able to negotiate in good faith with the PA security chiefs.
The senior Israeli government official avoided any comment on the conclusions reached by the Israeli security establishment that determined that Dahlan is the man who has orchestrated and conducted the campaign of Arab terror and murder over the past four years.
The senior Israeli government official would not comment on the article written by Ehud Olmert only two years ago on June 3 2002 in the Wall Street Journal that held Dahlan responsible for mass murder and called on the IDF to kill him.
The senior Israeli government official was confronted with the seeming contradiction that the Sharon Plan defines the PA as an entity which is not a peace partner in clause one of the Sharon Plan, while clause five of the Sharon plan proposes that the PA armed forces be trained once again, the senior Israeli government official asserted that nothing should not interfere with Israel wanting to conduct negotiations between Israeli and PA security personnel.
When senior Israeli government official was asked how he could best cope with the fact that the PLO remains in a state of war with Israel, he did not deny that fact. Instead, senior Israeli government official noted that Israel was therefore left with four choices – to uproot the PA; to resume political negotiations; to do nothing; or to order a disengagement of forces.
The senior Israeli government official noted that Israel was not ready to dismantle the PLO or the PA, so that it opted for the disengagement plan.
The last minute of the briefing said it all: The senior Israeli government official described the many hours that he had spent with Dahlan and Rajoub, as he described how they had assured him that if Israel left all of Gaza, then there would be a remarkable improvement in Israeli security. The government official did not deny the involvement of either of these two Arafat officers in the orchestration of the Arab terror campaign over the past four years. What the official did indicate was that he was looking for a way to placate the concerns of Dahlan and Rajoub.
Last but not least, the senior Israeli government official mentioned that 100,000 Arab refugee camp residents could be moved into the abandoned Jewish homes from Katif yet that Arab refugee camp residents will only accept the homes and villages that they left in 1948 for their future resettlement.
The fact that Arafat is looking for a place to settle his PLO armed forces and their families does not seem to even occur to the senior Israeli government official
In conclusion, the senior Israeli government official emphasized again that implementation of the Sharon Plan depends on Knesset ratification of that policy.
Yet that same senior Israeli government official made it quite clear that the Israeli government would follow through on a timetable which showed that it would do everything possible to create facts on the ground that would assure the implementation of the Sharon Plan before the Knesset has a chance to act.
For example, since the Israel government was now offering funds for people to leave their homes, without having any funds approved for that purpose, it may have been no coincidence that the Israeli government announced on the same day as this briefing that it would ask the General Zionist Council now in session in Jerusalem to allocate funds as incentives for Jews to leave their homes in Katif and Northern Samaria. If the General Zionist Council of the Jewish Agency accedes to that funding request, then the Sharon government can avoid the necessity of requesting seed money from the Knesset to entice residents of Katif and Northern Samaria to leave their homes and farms, before the Knesset has a chance to ratify the Sharon Plan.
Since the senior Israeli government official met with the foreign media rather than the local media in Israel, Sharon’s tactic of circumventing the Knesset will not become readily apparent to the public at large nor even to the Knesset itself.