Thursday, December 18, 2003

The Sharon Speech. Haaretz's prediction:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will tell the Herzliya Conference this evening that his political plan for a settlement with the Palestinians is based on a commitment to implement the U.S.-sponsored road map. He will note, however, that if - within a few months - it emerges that Israel has no Palestinian partner and that the Palestinian Authority is not fighting terror, he will consider a series of security measures that will include a redeployment in the territories and also the relocation of settlements.

According to a political source, in one of the talks Sharon held with ministers and lawmakers in preparation for his address, he said he intended to give Palestinian PM Ahmed Qureia six months to prove his commitment to a settlement with Israel, and then to announce that for security reasons, the small settlements - Ganim and Kadim in the West Bank, and Morag in the Gaza Strip - would be relocated.

Well, I don't know what Arik is going to say anymore then Haaretz does, but this sounds kind of light compared to the hype that's brewing around it. I think Arik is likely to announce something a bit more radical then this, probably the removal of one or two larger-then-a-few-caravans settlements and a commitment to finishing the security fence post-haste. In other words, some preliminary moves pointing towards an ultimate unilateral withdrawal, along the lines of what Ehud Olmert has been proposing, proposals which, in my opinon, are clearly trial balloons from the old man himself.


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