Sharon's Peace Plan
- Sharon's Peace Plan
[17.01.01] According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and other sources,
right- wing Likud party candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon has
at least begun to reveal his peace plan. Sharon has campaigned on the
slogan of "Only Sharon can bring Peace" but thus far has not given any
indication of how he intends to bring about that peace.
According to Ha'aretz, to right-wing MK Zeevi and others, Sharon believes
relations with the Palestinians need to be dealt with urgently.
He envisions a long-term interim solution to be carried out in stages.
The Palestinians will not get any more territory in the West Bank, but will
rule over areas A and B, comprising 42 percent of the West Bank.
Sharon has said he will agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state on
this territory, but there is no indication as to when such a state could be established,
under his plan.
The plan would leave Palestinians with several disconnected islands
of sovereignty within Israeli-controlled territory. Movement between such areas
is hampered by checkpoints. Sharon claims he will also offer arrangements
that will allow contiguous movement between Palestinian territories to make
daily life easier for the people living there, but the nature of those arrangements
are likewise not clear.
Reciprocity and Israeli security will be at the basis of an agreement with the
Palestinians. Israel will retain control of the security zones - the Jordan Valley, and
the West Bank hills on the west - during the interim agreement period.
Israel will also continue its hold on the highways running across the West
Bank and the water sources of the aquifer.
All the Israeli settlements will stay in place, according to the plan, and the
Israel Defense Forces will guard access to them. In Jerusalem, the status
quo will be retained, and the city will remain under Israeli sovereignty.
The issue of the refugees will be dealt with on the basis of family reunification.
Sharon will demand the Palestinians cooperate in the war against terrorism,
and in return will offer them economic cooperation, development of combined
desalination projects, and a joint program of "one nation to another" in
which both sides will try to diminish incitement in their media and the
A multi-stage motion toward an agreement, he feels, will enable the two
sides to gradually develop a relationship between the two peoples. "Ending
the conflict" seems to be very far off, and it can only be achieved by a
full recognition of the right of the Jewish people to have its own state in
the Middle East.
To deal with the Intifada, Sharon would like to reinstate methods he used in
the Gaza strip three decades ago. While he recognizes that conditions today in
Gaza are very different from 1970, he believes it is still possible to reassert
calm in the area without a further escalation or by implementing collective punishments on the
population. He also does not intend to reoccupy Gaza, Ramallah or Nablus. He
stated however, that he would not evacuate the settlements in Gaza.
If elected, Sharon does not plan to establish any new settlements in the
territories. So long as the issue is part of the negotiations and there is
no agreement on the future of the territories or clearly demarcated borders
to the security zones, he sees the construction of new settlements as simply
adding to a tense atmosphere. He does plan to build, around Jerusalem, as did the
It is not clear what role Sharon intends for this plan in state policy. The same plan has
been variously described as a strategy to adopt only if the Palestinians
declare a state unilaterally, as the basis of negotiations and a long term interim
solution, and as an emergency plan to be instituted in case of war.
It is not clear how Sharon intends to restore calm, since he intends for Israel to
keep the isolated settlements in Gaza, Hebron and elsewhere that are the sources of the
greatest friction. At the same time, he will not reconquer Gaza. Sharon's action
in 1970 depended on massive troop deployment in Gaza.
Likewise, there is no indication of why Sharon thinks the Palestinians would be
willing to adopt his plan, given that it does not address the main issues that sparked
the current Intifadeh: impatience with progress toward a final settlement, the refugee
problem and the issues of Jerusalem.
At least, the plan gives Israeli voters a better chance to judge if there is really no
difference between Barak and Sharon, as some have claimed.