After the Bush-Sharon summit, and 100 days prior to the implementation of the unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians feelÃ‚Â pushed to the corner.
Dr. Sae’b Ereikat, former chief of the Negotiating team, voiced fears that the Gaza Strip will be the biggest open air-prison in History.
‘We do not know what is going to happen after the disengagement, Israel did not clarify what is going to happen to Rafah’s crossing, it is unclear whether there will be territorial contiguity between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, what is going to happen to the Palestinian economy. Is Israel planning to leave Gaza and turn it into the biggest jail in history?’ remarked Ereikat who spoke at the Peres Centre for Peace in Jerusalem.
Ereikat stressed the fact the disengagement from the Gaza Strip is unilateral and not coordinated with the Palestinians despite different claims.
He said, ‘Nobody answers our inquiries, yet they ask us to coordinate. We are tired of the interim agreements, why do we have to reinvent the wheel all the time. If not today, maybe in ten years, the only solution is two-states for two peoples within the borders of 1967. I can not see why negotiations halted.’
Ereikat also voiced a great deal of pessimism on the current situation despite some hopeful remarks that he made.
‘Through the years of the Intifada, Israel destroyed everything, in Nablus for example, there is a big chaos, all the Palestinian Authority headquarters were destroyed’ he asserted, ‘You, [Israelis] hand cuff us, throw us into the sea and ask us to swim and if we fail to swim, you say we have no partner for peace, and if we manage to swim, you say Palestinians are no good partners they are not doing enough.’
On the other hand, Haiim Ramon Minister in the Israeli Cabinet who also spoke at the Peres Center regarded the wall as a border line and said there will be disengagement after this disengagement.
‘After implementing this disengagement, there should be ‘disengagement 2′ through which we should pullout to the wall borders. The most important is putting an end to the occupation, if we do not end it, it will end us, security wise, political wise and economic wise.’ Ramon said.
‘Israel must disengage from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, I am very glad the Prime Minster [Ariel Sharon] adopted a plan which will lead to an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Sharon did this because contrary to his believes; there is no way to reach a temporary deal with the Palestinians,’ adding that ‘Geneva Initiative made him believe that keeping the Status quos will cause a crisis.’